CEO’s Greetings

Joakim Westerlund,
Chief Executive Officer,

CEO’s greetings

The environment in which we live and operate is experiencing unprecedented change.

Climate change has been described as an existential threat, not only by climate scientists, but also by major world leaders. The phrase can refer to a literal threat to humanity’s existence, but also to the danger that unchecked climate change can pose to our ways of life and place in the world.

The geopolitical landscape has intensified significantly over the past years, fuelled by Russia’s war of aggression and, e.g. the conflict in Gaza and rising tensions in East and Southeast Asia. 

At FORCIT we see the megatrends also obviously affecting us, but we also believe we have a crucial role in countering the negative effects of these trends.

In March 2023 the EU commission proposed a set of actions in the form of a European Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) to ensure the EU’s access to a secure, diversified, affordable and sustainable supply of critical raw materials. The related list of 34 critical raw materials, of which 17 strategic, are of critical importance for our society and for the green transition to stop climate change. On the list are e.g. minerals and metals required for the manufacturing of electrical vehicle batteries, wind turbines, solar panels and digital technology. The critical raw materials are not only necessary for our society to work and as enablers for the green transition, but the demand for these materials is expected to increase exponentially in the coming years. Many of these materials, and most of the volume, is, furthermore, currently extracted and processed outside of EU, implying very clear risks of delivery disturbances and making the EU vulnerable to political or economic extortion. The CRMA has the goal of increasing and diversifying the EU’s critical raw materials supply, strengthening circularity as well as supporting research and innovation on resource efficiency and the development of substitutes. Among the quantitative targets is that at least 10 percent of the EU’s annual consumption in 2030 should come from EU extraction compared to the current level of below 3. Reaching these targets is putting a lot of pressure on the mining industry, but foremost on the legislators to enable the change that is needed to reach these ambitious and important targets.

The Nordic countries are mining nations and pioneers in sustainability. The Nordic mining industry and the broader mining cluster is considered among, if not the most sustainable in the world, thanks to efficient and innovative production methods, lower emissions than the industry on average and a good working environment. At FORCIT we feel pride of being an important cog in the large wheel of an industry that is and will be in an absolute key position for a resilient, clean and green Europe.

As we passed the sad mark of two years since Russia launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the European Defence industry is under pressure to support the re-building of a European credible defence and deterrence. After decades of under-investment, fragmentation, lack of supply of critical raw materials, and a lack of manufacturing capability this is a tremendous undertaking. In an environment of rising geopolitics and warnings of direct military threats to Europe we at FORCIT have taken our role seriously in building up new capabilities and capacity for the defence of Europe and the values it represents. 

2023 was a year when FORCIT celebrated its 130 years of history. It was also a year when our role in society was increasingly clear to be more relevant than it has probably ever been before.