Closing interview with Sara Palander, Director of the Center

Wednesday, 18 January, 2023

After twelve years at the Swedish Life Cycle Center, Sara Palander, will leave her position as a Director of the Center.

Sara has during her leadership built and managed the Swedish Life Cycle Center’s operations in collaboration with partners. She rebranded CPM to Swedish Life Cycle Center, arranged scientific conferences, initiated ISO standards, participated in the development of the EU’s Environmental Footprint process, developed new working methods and communication, participated in the start-up of an Ecodesign center in Spain, had a place in several steering groups in various research projects and at the same time initiated research collaborations and joint activities between academia, research institutes, industry and government agencies.

We have asked Sara a couple of questions to summarize her years at the Swedish Life Cycle Center.

What has been the most fun?

All the people I got to meet and learn from and that I had the trust of parties and financiers who gave me the conditions to run and develop the Center and its operations. And of course it has been fun to see the growing interest in life cycle thinking and life cycle assessment in business and society over the years and how these methods can be used to make actions towards a circular economy and climate neutral solutions.

Can you share a specific memory with us that is close to your heart?

I have so many memories that I share with so many others, but it’s funny when I still meet people who say they remember our conference in Gothenburg, LCM 2013, and who express “it was the best conference ever”. With which I agree! We had fun, but it was a lot of work. I also have projects and working groups that I have been a part of and I will take memories from all of them with me.

What do you think is the reason why you have succeeded so well with collaboration within the Center?

I think that we at the Technical secretariat have put a lot of time and priorities into creating a welcoming, open, and inspiring environment to be in so  you feel that you want to share your knowledge and that you feel that you can create benefit. I also believe that our success depends on the fact that we have constantly created new forms of cooperation with common issues. But the most important part has been the engaged partners and the people who have filled the environment with so much knowledge and driving force to impact at global level.

What will you miss?

All the nice people who have inspired me and who have been involved in the operations. We have a Center that is based on the competence that all our partners possess, and that they all contribute with their commitment and experience from academia, institutes, authorities, and industry. It is nice to have had the opportunity to be a part of that exchange of knowledge.

What will you take with you to your future role in business?

Everything I learned and my network. I have had the privilege to work with incredibly competent people who have inspired me and educated me throughout my time here. And I also want to highlight life cycle thinking, which is an important key to making better decisions, running successful businesses and a transforming the society.