Negar Sharifi leaning on a sun-lit yeallow wall.

Green experts 2023: Negar Sharifi, Oulun Energia

News article

The goal of the green transition is to combat climate change and biodiversity loss and to build an ecologically sustainable welfare society based on a carbon-neutral circular economy. Harnessing the skills of TEK members in the green transition is particularly important. Here is one of these green experts.

Logo and text: TEK's theme year, The Green Transition.

1. Your name?

Negar Sharifi

2. What and where have you studied?

Bachelor: Polymer engineering, Iran, Amirkabir University of Technology

Minor in Environmental Engineering through Erasmus plus Mobility, Türkiye, Middle East Technical University

Master: Environmental Engineering, Finland, University of Oulu

3. Where do you work (title/position and name of organization)?

I worked at Oulun Energia (City of Oulu energy affiliate), title: Carbon solution consultant. I worked there for almost a year, first as a master thesis writer and then as a summer worker.

4. Can you describe your work, what do you do?

I contributed to their ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 by developing a detailed roadmap to assess the company's current carbon footprint and identify areas for improvement. I designed an internal carbon calculation system that allowed for accurate measurement of direct and indirect emissions. This system served as a foundation for evaluating the effectiveness of sustainability initiatives and implementing strategies to compensate for any remaining emissions after the green transition.

5. How does your work contribute to the green transition?

I had an opportunity to work at an energy company that was determined to lead the way in the green transition and become a carbon-neutral energy producer. Being in the heart of this industry, I played a pivotal role in developing a roadmap for achieving their ambitious goal. The company’s energy production division was a key contributor to direct emissions, making it a crucial focus for the green transition. I worked diligently to assess the current situation and design a comprehensive plan for the company's transformation.

6. How did you end up as a green expert in your current job and what does working with the green transition mean to you?

I've always sought a meaningful path in life, where my work can make a difference. That's why I chose to work in environmental preservation. At first, the idea of green transition held so much value for me. I believed that by working in this field, I could achieve my career goals and have a positive impact. But along the way, things started to become more business-oriented, and the original purpose seemed to fade away to some extent.

7. Name one thing that anyone can do to promote/advance green transition?

I believe that real transition begins with critical thinking, rather than simply relying on others to dictate what is right or wrong. It can be uncomfortable to question things and go against the mainstream, but it's essential for genuine change. Transition shouldn't be just for show or to make life easier. Instead, it's about actively engaging in conversations and seeking different perspectives. This might not necessarily make you happier, but it allows us to truly live a life.

8. What should be done next to promote/advance the green transition?

I won't simply tell you to buy green energy or products with specific labels and consider yourself a champion of the green transition. I believe that such specific recommendations can sometimes be mere marketing tactics. Instead, I have faith in the power of individuals. I am personally on a journey to discover my own role.