Increasing Sustainability Expertise

"Communication, text, and design are all important to showcase sustainable results in companies," says Astrid Eidhammer Hjelmeland, General Manager of Omega 365 Design. She and several colleagues have now trained to become better sustainability advisors.

Published: 15 March 2024
Maria Djuve Vågen, Marie Jastrey Albertsen, Linn-Henny Andersen, Astrid Eidhammer Hjelmeland, and Amalie Crowo, are all looking forward to contributing to sustainable growth and development for Omega 365 Design's customers.

Recently, Astrid Eidhammer Hjelmeland and her colleagues, Amalie Crowo, Linn-Henny Andersen, Marie Jastrey Albertsen, and Maria Djuve Vågen, attended the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences' (HVL) decentralized study in sustainability in practice. Here, they have acquired various tools that can be used when communicating sustainable goals and resources within their own company, and, not least, with customers. In addition, they have gained broad knowledge about what companies need to have in place to achieve sustainability goals in the future.

"Most of all, we want to find good solutions that create sustainable growth and development," says Hjelmeland.

"Having a sparring partner who can provide advice on production, measures, and strategic work in companies is highly valuable. Asking relevant questions is crucial; for instance, if an order for plastic cups with a logo comes in, it's essential to inquire about what happens to them afterward. Can they be reused? And is it necessary to include the year of the event on all ordered products?" Hjelmeland asks.

"What advice do you have for companies?"

"Pose the question: What are we good at, and what do we want to improve this year? What can we realistically achieve this year? We're happy to help sort things out to determine what's possible to achieve – after all, you can't do everything. Such change processes can be particularly challenging for small and medium-sized companies, especially when there isn’t a large administration," says Hjelmeland.

More than the environment

Amalie Crowo works with content production at Omega 365 Design and understands the critical role that well-crafted texts and clear communication play in showcasing what customers are working on.

"I'm happy to gain more knowledge about what it takes to document development and growth in sustainability. For our final assignment, we used Omega 365 as a case study, which is both our owner and one of our major customers. It was useful to apply the theory we learned in the assignment to map out how we can continue to work with sustainability at Omega 365," says Crowo. Together with her colleagues, she has been surprised by how broad the concept of sustainability is and how much needs to be in place throughout the company to focus on healthy growth.

"It's easy to assume that sustainability is solely related to the environment and climate. In our industry, we often focus on the printing companies we use and the significance of reducing emissions, opting for environmentally friendly paper, and refraining from printing unnecessary products," says communications advisor Maria Djuve Vågen, adding:

"Now we have learned that sustainability encompasses much more. Both financial sustainability and the positive social interactions at work are crucial for achieving the right development. Not least, collaboration between companies and stakeholders in the business community plays a significant role.

Aesthetic and functional

Linn-Henny Andersen, a designer at Omega 365 Design, specializes in UX design, which means designing to enhance positive user experiences. In other words, design should not only be aesthetic but also a useful tool.

"Many people wonder where to begin in their sustainability efforts and what aspects are important to highlight on their websites or in other channels. The more you learn, the more you realize how comprehensive this subject is. At the heart of it lies hope – the belief that you can make a difference and generate results," she says.

"We are passionate about sustainability, fully committed to achieving our goals, and, not least, dedicated to being the sparring partner needed for our customers, enabling them to showcase their results to the world. I had already inquired about available courses when this program came up. It has been truly beneficial," says Andersen.

Diversity and innovation

The course was conducted as a collaboration between HVL and Medvind24 Næringshage and awards 2.5 credits. It concluded with an assignment in which the team from Omega 365 Design had to write about challenges in their own company.

"In many ways, this is the very backbone of the Omega 365 system. We excel in diversity and an inclusive working environment, and it's crucial to facilitate opportunities for those on the fringes of society to find employment. From a sustainability perspective, it's also important to assume social responsibility and contribute locally," says General Manager Hjelmeland.

She points out that the recently completed ISO certification of Omega 365 Design also shows the significance of documenting measures and results to achieve the goals set.

"This is also about fostering innovation and meeting the criteria set by public sector players in their tenders. In this context, we may need to reconsider our communication strategies. Do we need to store all the information we generate, or can we delete some of it? In our work, which includes film production, there are often large files. Can some of the basic material be deleted without impacting the end product? These are questions we must keep asking ourselves," says Hjelmeland.

The UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals are the overarching goals that all companies must work towards, making them a natural focus for this course.

"Must be real"

Designer Marie Jastrey Albertsen found the HVL course very exciting and is pleased to have gained more tangible tools for sustainable work.

"We were presented with a variety of tools, including a green growth ladder, which allows you to analyze your own company and identify the natural next steps. I believe it's crucial that we actively use these tools and not let them gather dust. Without consistent attention to these issues, the focus on them can quickly fade. My best advice is to schedule dedicated time in your calendar to address these challenges, as it requires both time and resources," says Albertsen.

She also emphasizes that the course covers a broad range of topics.

"It's crucial to contemplate the concept of sustainability and assess what you can accomplish within your own company. For instance, if you're a mechanical contractor, you're likely to have high emissions, but when viewed in the context of your industry, they may still be considered sustainable. It's about confidently sharing your own achievements without resorting to deception or greenwashing. Genuine communication is essential; merely having green websites is not effective enough," she says.