9 - 10 December

Join the Baltic Sea City Idea Lab to gain new insights and develop partnerships that will help your municipality meet its sustainability targets.

Stay tuned to this page for updates about the event and participating experts!

Pre-reading material

All you need to know

The Idea Lab is both the kick-off event for the Baltic Sea City Accelerator programme and an innovative workshop for municipalities seeking to gain new insights from international experts on their local water and wastewater management challenges. It provides a safe and inspirational space for the cross-pollination of ideas, allowing for new insights and new partnerships to emerge.

Please note that seats are limited and are available on a first come first serve basis. Be sure to sign up early and share your cases, latest November 13th

Draft Agenda

December 9th

Global Utmaning -Birger Jarlsgatan 27 , Stockholm, Sweden

17.00-18.00 Introduction to Idea Lab and Baltic Sea City Accelerator Programme

18.00-20.00 Interactive Idea Lab Mingle & Dinner

Join innovators, solution providers, other cities, global organisations and others who share the same passion as you!

December 10th

General Electric Headquarters: Vendevägen 89, Danderyd, Sweden.

Located 30 Minutes from Stockholm City Center with public transportation.

Directions with T-bana /Metor

Take Red Line towards Mörby Centrum

Get off at Danderyd Sjukhus Station

Follow the exit signs for Vendevägen

Stay on Vendevägen for one kilometer

You will find General Electric's office on the right side of the street

More information about the metro and times can be found here




Welcome remarks

  • Niklas Zennström, Co-Director, Zennström Philanthropies, Co-Founder of Skype
  • Barbara Jackson, Director, Race For The Baltic
  • Fredrik Åkesson, General Electric Water


  • Global and Regional Water Challenges – Identifying Paths Forward in the Baltic Sea Region - Jakob Granit, Centre Director, Stockholm Environment Institute
  • A Business Approach to Restoring Waters in the Baltic Sea region and Capturing Economic and Social Benefits - Fredrik Lind / Sanna Dahlgren Boston Consulting Group
  • Baltic Sea as a Factor for Success – the City of Helsinki’s approach - Pekka Sauri, Vice Mayor, City of Helsinki (via web conference)


Share your Baltic Sea challenge or vision!

A selected group of municipalities will share a local challenge or vision to kick off the Idea Lab!





  • Work on selected cases using the Idea Lab's Methodology
  • Meet solution providers and learn about emerging technologies and other solutions to local water and wastewater challenges
  • Develop a strategic and actionable 'theory of change' plan together with international experts
  • Themes: innovative and cost-effective solutions, stakeholder engagement, policy, theory of change, cost-benefits analysis, financing models, innovative processes, funding opportunities and more!

16.30 End of Idea Lab

16.30-17.00 Meeting with municipalities only



Niklas Zennström
Co-Founder Zennström Philanthropies, CEO and Founding Partner Atomico, Co-Founder Skype

Niklas Zennström is CEO and Founding Partner at Atomico. He is an experienced entrepreneur, previously co-founding and managing globally successful technology companies including Skype, Kazaa, Joost and Joltid.

In 2006 Niklas created Atomico to help entrepreneurs primarily outside Silicon Valley to scale their businesses domestically and globally. It has so far invested in more than 50 companies on four continents, and Niklas works closely with a number of leaders of portfolio companies so that they benefit from his own experience as an entrepreneur.

Before starting Atomico, Niklas co-founded Skype, where he held the position of CEO from its inception until September 2007. In 2005, Skype was sold to eBay Inc for $3.1bn, the largest European venture capital exit to date. Subsequent to this, Skype was bought back by a consortium that included Niklas, and was sold to Microsoft for $8.5 billion cash in 2011.

In 2006, Niklas was recognised by Time Magazine as one of its 100 Most Influential People, and he has received numerous awards for entrepreneurship including being voted Entrepreneur of the Year in the European Business Leaders Awards (2006), the KTH Great Prize from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden (2009), the Oxford Internet Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award (2011), H.M. The King’s Medal (2013), and the Gold Medal from the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (2013).

In 2007, he co-founded Zennström Philanthropies, where he is actively involved in combating climate change, improving the state of the Baltic Sea and encouraging social entrepreneurship. Niklas is also a keen yachtsman, and has won three Mini Maxi World Championships and one TP52 World Championship with his yacht racing team Rán.

Niklas holds dual degrees in Business and MSc Engineering Physics/Computer Science from Uppsala University in Sweden, and he spent his final year at the University of Michigan.

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Ginny Snead
Water Resources/Transportation Engineering

Ginny Snead is a consulting engineer who has primarily focused her work within the Chesapeake Bay region of the United States for her career of over 20 years. She currently focuses on project planning and implementation of water resource projects that enhance water quality in the eastern United States for the Louis Berger Group. The Louis Berger Group is one of 10 firms that make up Berger Group Holdings with affiliate employees in more than 50 countries. Prior to joining Louis Berger, she served the State of Virginia in various leadership roles and agencies devoted to the Chesapeake Bay clean up initiatives including Director of Non-Point Programs at the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and Director of Stormwater and Trading Programs for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

In these roles she implemented new program requirements and regulations for urban stormwater to curb nutrient and sediment loadings from development, encourage redevelopment over open space development and better manage previously developed impervious lands. She also led the effort to create an enhanced nutrient trading program to facilitate implementation of water quality projects through an open-market based approach. In 2012, her office produced Virginia's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan, the current blueprint for the state's efforts to meet water quality standards. She represents Louis Berger as a founding member of the National Water Quality Trading Alliance. She also currently serves on several workgroups at the U.S Environmental Protection Agency Chesapeake Bay Program focusing on water quality and nutrient trading, urban stormwater and agricultural incentive programs. She holds an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia and a masters in Environmental Engineering and Policy from the Johns Hopkins University.

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Roland Randefelt
Regional and Urban Development Division, European Investment Bank

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Mats Johansson
Senior Partner, Ecoloop

“Mats Johansson is a systems ecologist and senior partner at the consultant company Ecoloop. Mats main goal is to "make things happen", ie to initiate projects that lead to improvements for both nature and society. His main focus is water and eutrophication, water and wastewater services, and he has a particular interest in sustainable management of nutrients. As a consultant he is often engaged in early phases as an initiator and/or project leader. He is currently doing work for municipalities, national agencies and business actors. These projects often involves identifying the economic or societal motives for changing the current situation and management and Mats have gained a special expertise in institutional and policy-related aspects of water and wastewater planning and the development and management of new municipal infrastructures and systems for water, wastewater and waste services. Mats was one of the founders of the Swedish national knowledge node in 2004 and has since been active in the development of this project. Avloppsguiden is a membership organization including more than 220 of Swedish municipalities. It is both the main consumer web-site for onsite sanitation and it also serves as a node for dialogue and knowledge exchange between municipalities and businesses. Avloppsguiden has developed into a company of its own, VA-guiden, where Mats is involved in developing strategy and external communication. /

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Jakob Granit
Director at Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm Centre

Jakob holds a Ph.d. in geography and has 20 years of experience

working on the development and management of transboundary water

resources. He has held many senior positions at national and

international level, most recently from a position with responsibility

for applied research and advisory services at SIWI.

Jakob has previously worked at the World Bank, where he led the World Bank's

regional team in East and Central Africa that worked across sectors,

advising governments on water resources for economic growth, food and

energy security. He has also worked for Sida, where he developed and

managed Sida’s transboundary water resource initiative in southern

Africa. Jakob was appointed to the Global Environment Facility

(GEF) advisory panel during early 2012. The panel (Scientific and

Technical Advisory Panel, STAP) consists of six internationally

recognized experts that provide strategic, scientific and technical

advice on the GEF's work. The Global Environment Fund is now the largest

global fund for environment and development and consists of 182

countries in partnership with international institutions, organizations

and the private sector.

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Fredrik Åkesson
GE Power & Water

Fredrik Åkesson is currently leading GE Water’s operations in the Nordic region. Fredrik is a seasoned executive with broad experience in strategic and operational sales, marketing and business development leadership roles, active in truly global business environments. He has over 10 years in the water industry. Prior to joining GE, Fredrik held various manager positions at Xylem, most recently as Regional Manager Northern Europe. Fredrik has spent over 15 years living outside of Sweden, and has a passion for travel and global affairs.

GE Water offers the most comprehensive set of solutions and services available, helping our customers manage and optimize their water resources and process challenges across industries and municipalities. It is our goal to enable our customers to meet increasing water demands and population needs, overcome scarcity challenges, enhance their environmental stewardship and comply with regulatory requirements.

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Fredrik Lind
Partner and Managing Director, The Boston Consulting Group

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Pekka Sauri Sauri
Deputy Mayor, City of Helsinki

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Johan Hassel
CEO, Global Challenge Think Tank

Johan is the CEO of Global Challenge since spring 2015 and has the overall responsibility for the think tank's operation. He was previously general secretary of the Young Social Democracy International, IUSY and has worked as an administrator at the Olof Palme International Center. Additionally, he has conducted international service in Kosovo. Johan has studied economics and political science at Lund University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Päivi Kippo-Edlund
Director of Environment Protection, City of Helsinki

Director of Environment Protection, City of Helsinki

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Barbara Jackson
Director, Race For The Baltic

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Mauricio Portilla
Project Manager, Baltic Sea City Accelerator

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Patrik Marckert
Nordic Investment Bank

Patrik Marckert is Senior Manager of Origination at the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB), working with the financing of environmental and energy projects, primarily in the Nordic and Baltic region. Projects having a positive impact on the Baltic Sea environment are of particular interest. The Nordic Investment Bank is owned by the Nordic and Baltic states, and has a mission of improve the environment and competitiveness in its member states.

Prior to joining NIB Patrik worked more than ten years in Latin America. Based in Chile, he founded and managed companies in the fields of algorithmic trading, energy finance consulting and trading, and now maintains a passive ownership in a trading firm. He also worked as a consultant with technology transfer projects in Colombia and Chile.

He has previously worked as an energy strategy consultant at Sweco and was the project leader of an energy efficiency project at the Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences in Sweden.

Patrik holds a M.Sc. in Industrial Economy from the Royal University of Technology, Stockholm.

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Warren Campbell
Vireo Energy AB

Warren Campbell is an entrepreneur, investor and Board professional active in a number of Swedish start-ups and energy companies.

Warren is originally from Australia and has a background in the energy sector having been a line manager at Exxon Mobil and a partner at management consulting firm McKinsey and Company working primarily with global energy companies.

More recently Warren co-founded Vireo Energy AB and is an owner and Board member as well as being CEO for the first five years of the company’s development. Vireo Energy is a renewable energy business focused on building and operating bioenergy based power and heat projects in Central and Eastern Europe. Today Vireo Energy has 50 employees in 5 countries and revenues of SEK 50+ million with backing from Kinnevik.

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Anders Norén
CEO - Bioptech​ AB

Anders Norén is CEO and restarter of Bioptech AB. He holds a degree in International Business from Uppsala Universitet and speaks several languages. Anders has over 20 years of experience from entrepreneurship, project managment, business development and sales. He has experience from different industries ans positions such as CEO, vice president, sales and business development director. As a restarter of Bioptech, Anders has dedicated the last five years to implementing and scaling the unique and sustainable filter technology of Bioptech, based on research from KTH. The technology is directly and concretely adressing the challenge of saving the Baltic Sea.

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Sanna Dahlgren
Consultant , The Boston Consulting Group

Sanna Dahlgren is a consultant at The Boston Consulting Group in Stockholm and has been engaged in topics regarding the Baltic Sea for over one year, both by writing reports and participating in discussions on a national and international setting. Sanna is currently leading the Environmental initiatives within the Social impact practice at The Boston Consulting Group in Stockholm

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Organised by Race For The Baltic and partners.

Race For The Baltic

The Idea Lab is the kick-off event for the Baltic Sea City Accelerator Programme. Read more here and learn about how your municipality can join the full programme.

This programme is made possible through the support of

- The Boston Consulting Group

- General Electric Water & Power

- Ramboll

- Baltic Sea Challenge

- Stockholm International Water Institute - Swedish Water House

- Union of the Baltic Cities Sustainable Cities Commission

- European Investment Bank

- United States Environmental Protection Agency

- Global Challenge Think Tank

- Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management

- The Swedish Institute

- The Louis Berger Group Inc.

- IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

- Stockholm Environmental Institute

- International Seakeepers Society

- Swedish Water and Wastewater Association

- Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre

- Niklas Zennstrom, Initiator of Race For The Baltic, Co-Founder of Zennström Philanthropies and Co-Founder of Skype

- And More

The Baltic Sea City Accelerator programme is a part of Race For the Baltic. RFTB is a multi-stakeholder platform for Baltic Sea Action that brings together governments, research, private sector, and civil society to create awareness, political will and collective action.

These efforts will lead to a healthier Baltic Sea environment, whilst contributing to long-term economic development and improved citizen well-being in the region. Race For The Baltic is an initiative of Zennström Philanthropies and is hosted by Global Utmaning Think Tank in Stockholm, Sweden

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