In our special column, we are pleased to host an interview with Anne Katrine Bjerregaard, Head of Strategy, Sustainability and ESG at Mærsk Mckinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping who says that she has been always attracted to the decarbonization challenge, even when it was not given the same level of importance as it does now. As she explains, Anne Katrine’s career is focused on decarbonization and sustainability as a whole and she finds it interesting and fulfilling that her work helps communities and individuals change their mindsets.
he also hopes that all interested parties would view the climate situation as a genuine emergency and seize the chance to jointly design and reimagine a more sustainable maritime sector. The executive MBA she attended five years ago gave Anne Katrine a new career chapter and invaluable knowledge. Additionally, she enjoys winter swimming, which provides her time to reflect and detox.
SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
Anne Katrine Bjerregaard: Actually, I joined the industry by a bit of a coincidence. I took a temporary position in a maritime members organization 15 years ago and was immediately attracted to the decarbonization challenge – although it wasn’t as high on the agenda then as it was now. Since then, driving change and sustainable development, through cross industry collaboration has been at the core of my career.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
A.K.B.: The decarbonization challenge is not just about fuels and technology, it’s about people and communities, its about changing mindsets and rethinking the system as we know it today. These kinds of challenges only come up once every generation and while its complex and challenging, it’s also exciting and meaningful to be part of.
S4S: When you think of the word successful who’s the first person who comes to mind and why?
A.K.B.:I know many successful people: I admire quite a few of my current colleagues who have joined the Center to work for change. I truly admire some of the first movers in sustainability who leaned in and spoke up before green became the new black such as Annette Stube and Lene Serpa (Maersk), and Yuko Tsutsui (NYK). Speaking of speaking up: I admire the young climate activists for their persistence and constant questioning of the existing gallery of stakeholders’ ability to solve the climate crisis. You can either be offended or motivated by their doubt – I choose to be motivated.
S4S: Who is/was the most influential person/mentor to you & why?
A.K.B.:I actually haven’t had a mentor. Throughout my career I have had ‘lighthouses’ i.e. people that are visionary and committed change drivers. Although not often enough, I make sure to check in with them once in a while to get a new perspective on things, to be inspired and to test my own assumptions.
S4S: What is the best and what was the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given and why?
A.K.B.: The worst is to ‘plan my career’. Had I laid out a firm plan when I finished university, I doubt I would have been where I am today. The best advice, on the other hand, is to lean in and take a chance on something new. I am curious by nature, so it works well for me.
S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
A.K.B.: 5 years back I embarked on an executive MBA at Technical University of Denmark. It is by far the best investment I have made in my career. In addition to the educational part, it gave me confidence to open a new chapter of my career and in general taught me a lot on what leadership and values mean to me.
S4S: If you could give a piece of advice to your 18-year-old-self one thing, what would it be and why? What piece of advice should you ignore?
A.K.B.:Be ambitious, kind and authentic. Fill your life with people that gives you energy and spend less time on those who always takes and never gives. This applies professionally and in private.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?
A.K.B.:Hmmm… Looking at the scale of the challenge we face and the little progress made globally, I can understand why some people get climate anxiety or simply choose to move on with business as usual. Neither will help me move the needle, so I choose to believe that we will succeed with this transition. On a more down-to-earth note, I try to carve out time to reflect and re-set. Winter swimming is an effective tool for doing that.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?
A.K.B.:I would like us to treat the climate crisis like an actual crisis. But, it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s also an opportunity to co-develop and rethink a more sustainable shipping industry.
S4S: What is your personal motto?
A.K.B.:I don’t have one. But inspired by the climate movement, it could be: the time to act is now!
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.