As head of SHE, Boel Schylander works directly with the future environment. Here she talks about her work with residual products, short decision paths and creating measurable environmental improvements.
Hofors produces 90,000 tons of residual products every year. Until 2009, most of this material was deposited in Ovako’s own landfill, but almost ten years ago it was decided the landfill would be closed and not replaced – largely due to data from recently-graduated Boel. Two years earlier she had been recruited as a development engineer for residual products, and her first task was to review how these products could be reused and recycled instead of being dumped in landfill.
“We identified uses and recycling solutions, and worked out the costs. After presenting the solution to Ovako’s CEO at the time, it took him two minutes to decide we should operate entirely without our own landfill. That’s what I call a short decision path, or a good suggestion – hopefully a combination of both.”
Boel first came in contact with Ovako when she was studying chemical engineering with a focus on minerals and metallurgy in Luleå. At the end of her course she did a project on Ovako, which later resulted in thesis work at the company.
“A friend in my year told me that if I wanted to be somewhere stimulating I should call a person at Ovako. It turned out to be the same person I had been in contact with previously, during my project with Ovako.”
In the end, Boel was recruited by her thesis supervisor at the time, and she’s now in her twelfth year at the company. After five years, she became environmental coordinator for the entire Hofors operation, and for the past year she has been working as the SHE head. This means she works with occupational health and environmental issues across the business, including legal, licensing, and regulatory issues, as well as investigations regarding the environment and occupational health. The issues in occupational health are very much overarching matters, such as developing procedures. This includes various ways of contributing to improvement in the safety culture within the business.
“If you want a job where you get to influence the future of the environment and create clear measurable improvements, I would recommend my position. Somehow this is about the future of my children – and it's impressive that I get to work so directly with it.”