tomorrow's by suchenfz

VIEWS: 29 PAGES: 36

									        tomorrow’s
    risks
       No-one knows the risks we will face in the future.
The internet is already a risk, as are the thousands of chemicals
we come into contact with every day. And the much-applauded
        nanotechnology also has an unknown downside.




                InCluDeS a Summary oF the 2010 IF year
2 Torbjörn Magnusson




             Progress for better
             or for worse

             S
                           cience and technology are advancing at an astonishing pace.
                           The advantages are often great, and the IT revolution is a typi-
                           cal example. It’s difficult to imagine a world without computers
                           today. If digitally stores around 8 million insurance policies for
                           private customers. The mind boggles at the thought of handling
             them without access to computer servers.
                These rapid advances are happening in area after area. Within the EU
             we now use around 100,000 synthetic chemicals – back in the 1950s that
             number was practically zero. Every day we come into contact with 30,000
             chemicals; they are in our jeans, the TV remote, children’s toys: everywhere.
                And the latest nanotechnology brings with it almost science fiction-like
             capabilities. Not only do people talk about invisibility cloaks and space lifts,
             but also about more down-to-Earth things like better cancer medications
             and faster computers.

             these are fantastic advances that contribute to a better life for most of
             us, but they also cause problems. Efforts to understand and regulate the
             new risks are only progressing slowly. Nanotechnology’s long-term
             effects are largely unknown, and our new IT world is much more
             vulnerable than many would believe. Only a fraction of all chemi-
             cals in industrial production have been studied in depth.

             neW cheMicaLs anD MateriaLs          have already caused signifi-
             cant damage or accidents on a number of occasions. Asbestos,
             PCBs and CFCs conjure up bad memories. Today we discuss pro-
             hibiting phthalates and bisphenol A, and unfortunately more
             harm and injuries caused by new technology are bound to
             occur in the future.
                Managing tomorrow’s risks today is one of our
             most important social concerns, and we hope this
             publication contributes to the discussion on how
             best to achieve this.

             Have an interesting read.

             Torbjörn Magnusson,
             Group CEO, IF


             P.s.At the end of this publication there is a
             section where If presents its annual results for
             2010. Also an interesting read.



                                                   phoTo ThroN ullberg
                                                                         Contents 3




              to mo rr ow ’s r isks




      ch e M ica Ls                i t secu r i t y     na not ech noLogy
6    Chemical use           14   Of course there are    20   Maria Strømme is
     increasing fast             risks to surfing.           searching for the
                                 Read this expert            perfect nanomate-
8    How chemicals
                                 advice on how best          rial
     became part of our
                                 to protect yourself.
     lives                                              24   Nano, how it works
                            17   Computer worm               in practice
10   Chemicals
                                 designed to knock
     that can damage                                    25   Nanotechnology’s
                                 out Iran’s nuclear
     your health                                             risks are still
                                 power
                                                             unknown
12   Why don’t we know      18   Can we
     more about hazard-
                                 switch
     ous substances?
                                 off the
13   The law cannot stop         internet?
     the toxins in your          What would
     shoes                       happen?

4    Introduction.          26   Panel. Four Nordic     28   Commentary:
     Risk preparedness           opinions on the             Magnus Lindkvist,
     in the Nordic Region        future                      futurologist

29   Summary of the If Year 2010
4 Introduction




                          Is Nordic risk prepa
                          intro.  Chemicals that can harm man and the
                          environment, inadequate IT security and the unknown
                          effects of nanotechnology. These are three examples of
                          future risks. But as society continues to change, so too
                          does the threat picture. It’s getting harder to predict
                          what tomorrow’s threats might be.
                                                                   tex t: Joha nna Bryd ol f




                          T
                                          wenty years ago we looked on GMOs       unknown risks.
                                          – genetically modified organisms – as      “Nuclear power accidents are a well-known
                                          a huge threat while pandemics and       threat. We know what they are and we can study,
                                          terrorism seemed pretty distant.        analyze and prepare for them, but how do we pre-
                                              “Epidemics were a thing of the      pare for nanotechnology’s risks? We don’t have the
                          past and terrorism just didn’t happen in the peaceful   foggiest idea,” says Kurt Petersen.
      nina Cromnier,      Nordic countries. Or so we thought. But the threat         Nanotechnology’s risks remain unexplored. The
      General Director
                          picture has changed,” says Kurt Petersen, Danish        same is true of the effects of many of the chemi-
      of the Swedish
      Chemicals agency.   Professor of Risk Management at Lund Uni-                     cals we come into contact with every day in
                          versity’s Faculty of Engineering in Sweden.                       our clothes, electronic gadgets, cosmetic
                             Today pandemics and terrorism                                   products and building materials. Nina
                          are threats in every sense of the word                             Cromnier, General Director at the Swed-
                            while GMO risks have receded as the                              ish Chemicals Agency, sees the chemicals
                                    emphasis on safety thinking sur-                         we are exposed to as a great future risk.
                                       rounding GMOs is now more                               “We don’t know enough about these
                                         pronounced. Many countries                       chemicals at present. We also need to
                                           today forbid the import of certain       develop regulations and inspection methods and
                                            genetically modified foodstuffs,      procedures, especially concerning nanomaterials
                                            and strict EU regulations limit the   and substances that disrupt the endocrine system.
                                            genetic modification of organisms.    Hormone disrupters can be present in all sorts of
                                               The question is what will be the   products, including toys,” she says.




                                                                                  S
                                          biggest threats in the next 20 years?
                                        According to Kurt Petersen threats                      taff at the Swedish Civil Contingen-
                                      will become much more difficult to                        cies Agency (MSB) are working on
                                 foresee because the world and society are                      developing and supporting society’s
                          changing at an ever-faster pace. While demographic                    ability to manage accidents and
                          and socio-economic changes, rapid technologi-                         crises. The first thing they do in their
                          cal development and globalization may together          contingency planning is to try to create a picture
                          lead to new possibilities, they also present hitherto   of how our future society will look, and then they
                                                                                                                                        5




redness sufficient?
 study today’s threats and apply them to                                 transportation of medications to the
 tomorrow’s society. What may appear                                       site of a catastrophe possible within a
 as a well-known threat today can                                            couple of hours, regardless of where
 change, intensify or disappear in                                            in the country that may be. But in
 other scenarios. MSB Unit Manager                                            Finland for example, distances are
 Mette Lindahl Olsson points out that                                         much greater and transportation
 inadequate information security is                                          south from the country’s northern       Kurt Petersen,
                                                                                                                     Danish Professor
 one of tomorrow’s biggest threats.                                        regions can take a lot of time,” says     of risk manage-
     “We are dependent on computer                                      Kurt Petersen.                               ment.
 technology, and this makes us vulnerable.                              Another aspect that differentiates the
 Our IT dependency is important for e.g. payment            Nordic threat pictures is nuclear power, which
 systems; what happens to society if no-one can pay        only Finland and Sweden use. A third dissimilarity
 for things?” she asks.                                    is the different types of landscape.
     Many risk assessors also see climate change as            “For example, Denmark has no mountains and
 one of the major threats which are able to knock          is therefore not exposed to the same extent
 out utilities as a result of floods, storms and forest    to flash floods caused by cloudbursts,
 fires, for example.                                       while climate-related floods are a
     “We are already going through climate change          greater threat in Norway,” says Knut
 and we must take this into consideration and make         Petersen.




                                                           A
 preparations. We need a society robust enough for
 us to survive,” adds Mette Lindahl Olsson.                                 s often as not the




 T
                                                                            threats the public per-
                his can entail structures that are built                    ceives as the biggest are
                to withstand storms, blizzards and                          those that are currently
                floods without collapsing, or alter-                        the focus of media attention.
                native heat sources for individual            “Sometimes there’s just too much scaremonger-
                households.                                ing that bears no relation to the actual threat. For
    Every country assesses the risks in its own way.       instance, we might stop to ask ourselves whether
 Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden have much             airport security checks actually correspond to the
 in common, such as a cold climate, which makes            current threat picture. The checks scare us and
 energy supply an extremely important utility. The         make us suspicious of each other. In actual fact, the
 countries are also similar when it comes to such          risk of falling victim to a traffic accident is much
 things as the distribution patterns of contagious         greater than the odds of a terrorist attack,” says
                 diseases and the financial ability        Bjørg Ofstad, special advisor at Samrisk, a Norwe-
                     to cope with various crises. But      gian risk research programme on risks to society.
                       there are differences too.             What does research tell us about risks to society;
                            “Denmark is different          will society be any safer in the future?
                         because it is so small. This         “It’s hard to tell. I think our best, most important
                         can be an advantage as it         security is the open society. If we lose the openness
                        makes the rapid deployment         of our Nordic societies our security will be dimin-
                       of rescue services and the          ished,” concludes Bjørg Ofstad. l
                                              6 Risk: Chemicals




                                                            CHEMICAL USE
gLobaL annuaL ProDuction of cheMicaLs (MiLLions of tones)




                                                            RISING FAST       Synthetic chemicals have been
                                                             l i G h t n i n G f a S t.
                                                             around making our lives easier since the 1950s.
                                                             Man is constantly discovering new areas where
                                                             they can be used. They say there’s more to come.
                                                             t e x t: Jo h anna Brydo lf


                                                                                                                                                                                    1990s:
                                                                                                                                           1960s:                            The expression green
                                                                                                                                         Chemistry’s                          chemistry is coined
                                                                                                                                    downside is emerging.                     and the discussion
                                                                                                                                 Attitudes toward chemicals                   around eco-friendly
                                                                                                                                 become more negative. The                     chemicals gathers
                                                                                                         1950s:                 thalidomide disaster revealed                        pace.
                                                                                                   The optimistic era.              and the effects of pCb
                                                                                              A positive attitude toward                 discovered.
                                                                                            chemicals. people have a firm
                                                                                           belief in the ability of chemicals                                    1970s–1980s:
                                                                                           to solve problems and advance                                        risk awareness
                                                                                             prosperity. plastics, biocides                                        increases.
                                                                                                 and medications are                                             The chemistry
                                                                                                 developed at a rapid                                               industry
                                                                                                          pace.                                                      grows.




                                                            1                                              7
                                                            1930                1940                    1950                    1960                     1970             1980                      199
                                                                                                       7




                                                                the green era?
                                                            The chemical industries
                                                        are investing more and more in
                                                     green, eco-friendly chemicals and
                                                    products that lead to reduced energy
                                                     consumption in society. ever more
                                                       restrictions and legislation that
                                                      limit the use and development of
                                                           hazardous chemicals are
                                                               being introduced.




                     2010s:
               There are 100,000
              chemicals within the
             eu. We come into con-
            tact with at least 30,000
               of them every day.
                                                     everything points
                                                     to continued rapid
                                               growth in the chemical
                                               industry”
                                               leif Kronberg, Professor of organic Chemistry,
                                               Åbo akademi university.




       500
     400
90   2000       2010                    2020   2030                   2040                      2050
8 Risk: Chemicals




  Chemicals are
  not just cheap to
  produce, they are also
  effective. And they are
  all around us – In our
  jeans, our computers,
  in the floor we walk
  on and in our
  children’s toys.
  te x t: Joh an na B rydo lf




  Chemicals – part
  of our everyday lives
  I
             t’s difficult to imagine society today without                        says Leif Kronberg, Professor of Organic Chemistry at
             all the chemicals we use. Just think of all the                       Åbo Akademi University in Finland.
             plastics we take for granted and come across
             daily in our homes, schools and hospitals,”                           the setbacks caMe at the beginning of the 1960s
             says Åke Bergman, Professor of Environmen-                            when two events in particular drastically changed the
             tal Chemistry at Stockholm University.                                mood surrounding chemicals from optimistic to pessi-
     Yet it’s only 60 years since the chemicalisation of                           mistic. One was the discovery that the children of moth-
  society took off after new biocides, medications and                             ers who had taken Thalidomide during pregnancy were
  plastics were discovered.                                                        born with deformities, and the other was the publica-
     “Things have progressed with record speed since                               tion of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, a book about the
                                                               leif Kronberg,
  1950; we’re always discovering new possibilities. We                             devastating effects of biocides on nature. More negative
                                                               Professor of or-
  were determined to improve the things we already had.        ganic Chemistry,    discoveries followed such as those regarding the effects
  Take rubber tyres as an example; their performance has       Åbo akademi uni-    of PCBs in nature and the hole in the ozone layer. These
  increased enormously with the aid of chemicals, but          versity, Finland.   occurred at the same time as chemical accidents and the
  they are still made of rubber,” says Åke Bergman.                                harmful effects of chemicals were observed. But despite
                                                                                   this, the chemicals industry has continued to grow the
  for Many years      it seemed as though chemicals could                          fastest of all industries. The advantages of chemicals
  create a better world in a problem-free manner. New                              are quite simply too big for consumers and producers to
  biocides increased the size of harvests and thereby food                         want to take a step backwards.
  production; new medications such as cortisone and par-                              “We lead significantly better lives today than 100
  acetamol came onto the market, the inert gas Freon was       lars Blom,          years ago, and no-one wants to give that up. But I’m wor-
  the perfect refrigerant, and new types of materials soon     head of environ-    ried about the future. The chemicals issue is an unbeliev-
                                                               ment at the
  had the plastics and textile industries racing ahead.                            ably difficult one as it’s so complex,” says Åke Bergman.
                                                               Danish industry
  “In the 1950s confidence in chemicals was enormous;          association Plas-      But in recent years there has been a change. We
  we trusted chemicals. Today we are more sceptical,”          tindustrien.        use greener, i.e. more eco-friendly, technologies today
                                                                                                                                                              9




                                                               Ph oTo : geT T Y Im AgeS
                                                                                          What do we use
                                                                                          chemicals for?
                                                                                          Four examples of chemical-intensive industries.

                                                                                                textile induStry
                                                                                           1    Chemicals are used to create a desirable characteristic
                                                                                          in textiles. It can be solar reflective greenhouse fabrics, flame
                                                                                          retardant furniture coverings, durable air bags, colourful towels
                                                                                          or textiles that resist dirt and moisture. Without chemicals it
                                                                                          would be barely possible to make today’s textiles.
                                                                                          Chemical products used in various stages during the
                                                                                          production of a regular t-shirt:
                                                                                          • Cotton growing and the manufacture of rayon and polyester –
                                                                                            biocides
                                                                                          • Yarn and fabric production – oils, adhesives, surfactants,
                                                                                            caustic soda, bleach, anti-foaming agents, wetting agents and
                                                                                            water softeners.
                                                                                          • Dyeing and after treatment – pigments,
                                                                                            detergents and impregnation agents.
                                                                                          • Transport – anti-mould and anti-vermin agents.

                                                                                                BuildinG induStry
                                                                                           2    A great many building products contain
                                                                                          chemical substances. Among other things, chemicals are added
                                                                                          to paints, varnishes, adhesives, impregnated wood, flame
                                                                                          retardants (in plastics and textiles), jointing compounds and
                                                                                          levelling compounds. properties achieved by the addition of
                                                                                          chemicals include wearability, malleability, durability, adhesion
                                                                                          and fire resistance.

                                                                                                paint induStry
                                                                                           3    There are chemicals in all paints. We might as
                                                                                          well just say that paint is chemicals. The kind of
                                                                                          chemicals present in a tin of paint depends entirely
                                                                                          on the paint inside. however, the most common are
and many of the bigger players are investing in chemical                                  acrylics, polyurethanes, alcohols, ketones, esters,
products that reduce society’s environmental impact.                                      glycol esters, polyesters, melamine, oils and rubber.
    “You could say that future solutions to many of our                                   properties achieved by the addition of chemicals in-
environmental problems will require new chemicals and                                     clude various shades of colour, durability, water resistance and
new materials,” says Lars Blom, Head of Environment at                                    mould resistance, etc.
Plastindustrien, the Danish plastics industry association.                                     coSmeticS induStry
    He explains that the plastics industry is working hard                                 4   Nanoproducts and other chemicals are used in large
on developing new materials to reduce energy consump-                                     quantities to make cosmetic products durable and to provide
tion, such as new insulating materials to reduce heat                                     fragrance and consistency.
losses in buildings.                                                                      examples of chemicals and their areas of use:
    “In addition, many heavy materials in e.g. packaging,                                 • Acrylamide – thickener
cars and aircraft are being replaced with lighter materials.                              • Triclosan – antibacterial qualities
If cars and aircraft become lighter they are able to travel                               • Fluoro compounds – synthetic aromatics in
                                                                                            perfumes, soaps and detergents
farther on less fuel, which is of course of great benefit to
                                                                                          • Parabenes – preservatives
the environment,” says Lars Blom, who believes chemi-                                     • Bronopol – anti-microbial properties
cals will continue to be irreplaceable even in the future.
                                                                                          types of products that con-       Some of the most chemical-
Leif kronberg aLso beLieves         that the chemicals                                    tain most environmentally         intensive industries are:
industry will continue to grow at the same rapid pace, but                                hazardous substances:             • Iron, steel and metals
hopefully with less environmental impact than today.                                      • Paints                          • Basic chemicals
   “Things will get better. The big players have woken                                    • Disinfectants                   • Pulp, paper and wooden
                                                                                          • Fuels                             products
up to the fact that we need better, more eco-friendly
                                                                                          • Solvents                        • Construction
chemicals that can be used in smaller quantities than                                     • Cleaning agents                 • Agriculture
today. This is the only route to take, and we already have                                                                  • Plastic products
the technology,” he says. l
10 Risk: Chemicals

                        Dioxins are formed in          Biocides are found        heavy metals like             PCB is an industrial chemi-                                    Bisphenol a




                                                                                                                                             Substances hazardous to health
                        small quantities during        in every kind of          cadmium are ab-               cal that had many different                                    In among a house-
                        the production of e.g.         plant; they are           sorbed by plants from         areas of use before it was                                     hold’s receipts there
                        chemicals that contain         especially common         e.g. artificial fertilizer.   prohibited in the 1970s.                                       is thermal paper that
    Chemicals in food




                        chlorine, and during com-      in fruit and vegeta-      Cadmium                       pCb was used in such                                           releases bisphenol A .
                        bustion processes. Dioxins     bles. In high doses       is com-                       things as transformers,                                        This hormone disruptor
                        are found primarily in fatty   they may cause            mon in                        jointing compounds in                                          is also found in a great
                        foods such as fish, meat       nausea. There are         cereal                        buildings and in paint. pCb                                    deal of plastic packag-
                        and dairy products. Among      also biocides that        products                      can be found in fatty food-                                    ing, canned goods and
                        other things dioxins affect    disrupt hormones          such as bread and             stuffs like meat, fish and                                     hard plastic containers.
                        the brain and the nerv-              and which           pasta. It can cause           dairy products. It affects                                     The substance’s impact
                        ous system. They can                      cause liver    kidney damage and is          the brain and the nervous                                      on health is hotly
                        cause behavioural                        and kidney      a suspected cause of          system. It may cause be-                                       disputed, but more
                        disorders and diabetes.                  damage.         cancer.                       havioural disorders.                                           and more studies point




   There are hazardous sub
   the riSkS.  We put detergents, furniture                                                               ucts that are aimed at children in Canada and Denmark,
                                                                                                          while other countries are waiting for more research.
   polish, medicines and cosmetics beyond                                                                     It is in principle impossible to establish proof that a
                                                                                                          chemical is harmless. It may well be possible to show
   the reach of children. But we are constant-                                                            that a substance is harmless in certain respects, but
   ly surrounded by hazardous chemicals in                                                                it would require an immense amount of research to
                                                                                                          demonstrate its harmlessness in every regard, and also
   plastics, fabrics and our food; they are at                                                            in combination with other substances – the so-called
                                                                                                          cocktail effect.
   our workplace and in our homes.                                                                            “Also it’s very often difficult to determine just how
   te x t: k arl-Joh an n ylén/G it tan c ederwall                                                        hazardous a substance is for humans,” states Christina




   F
                                                                                                          Rudén, Toxicologist and Research Scientist at the Royal
                    lame retardants, phthalates, polyfluori-                                              Institute of Technology in Stockholm. There are many
                    nated compounds and bisphenol A are                                                   variables, and the delay between exposure and symp-
                    just some of the extremely common                                                     toms may last generations.
                    substances we come into contact with                                                      “Chemicals have been implicated in many really ma-
                    daily. They are all odourless, colourless                                             jor illnesses – asthma, allergies, cancer, cardio-vascular
                    and seldom mentioned in any list of con-                                              disease, diabetes and infertility,” says Christina Rudén.
   tents. Many chemicals that are hazardous to health have                      Christina rudén,              “If only a tiny percentage of these diseases are the
                                                                                toxicologist
   properties that are important and difficult to replace.                                                result of chemicals it means we have paid an extremely
                                                                                and research
   For example, flame retardants help to prevent many                           Scientist at the          high price for using them, both in terms of the cost to
   fires from starting in electrical equipment every year.                      royal Institute           society and human suffering,” she adds.
       But over time our knowledge and suspicions have                          of technology in
                                                                                Stockholm.
   grown that in actual fact we have achieved the exact                                                   hoWever, cheMicaLs are not just lurking on your
   opposite of what we sought – substances that were                                                      desk at work or in your children’s toy box, but also in
   originally intended to improve our existence are actually                                              the fridge. The food we eat exposes us to huge quanti-
   a great threat to health and life.                                                                     ties of dubious chemicals. There are biocides in fruit
       “We use an incredible amount of chemicals about                                                    and vegetables, brominated flame retardants in meat
   which we have very little idea of how they affect us. The                                              and dioxins in fish.
   chemicalisation of society threatens our health. We need                                                  “Food is the biggest source of our exposure to chemi-
   better, safer chemicals that have the desired properties                     nardono nim-              cal residues. Because we humans are at the top of the
                                                                                puno, Policy
   in our products, but which do not have side effects that                     manager at the            food chain we are especially vulnerable to persistent
   are harmful to health or the environment,” says Leif                         ChemSec Inter-            chemicals,” says Molecular Biologist Ingemar Pongratz,
   Kronberg, Chemist and Environmental Scientist at Åbo                         national Chemi-           who has worked at Cascade, a recently completed
                                                                                cal Secretariat.
   Akademi University.                                                                                    collaborative EU project between 24 research groups
                                                                                                          within the EU. The objective was to increase the under-
   Different countries interPret the various re-                                                          standing of chemicals in our food.
   search results about hazardous chemicals differently.                                                     According to the random samples carried out by the
   Bisphenol A is a good example; it is prohibited in prod-                                               authorities in the Nordic countries, there are residues of
                                                                                                                                                                           11

 to a connection between        of certain brominated flame      foodstuffs such as dairy     phthalates leach out        Polyfluorinated compounds
 widespread diseases such as    retardants became known,         products, meat and fish.     and accumulate in e.g.      The family sofa may have been
 diabetes and a possible link   they have in many cases          They disrupt the hormone     household dust. Many        made water and dirt resist-
 to effects on brain develop-   been replaced by other           balance and may                        phthalates        ant through impregnation by
 ment.                          agents such as chlorinated       cause behaviour-                       are thought to    agents based on polyfluorinated
                                flame retardants whose           al disorders.                          have disruptive   compounds. Your windcheater,
 Flame retardants               environmental and health                                                reproductive      shoes and even your floor polish
 Most household electrical      effects are as yet unknown.      Phthalates                             effects and       may contain these substances.
 appliances are treated with    Flame retardants are             large quantities                       are therefore     polyfluorinated compounds are
 flame retardants                         often persistent       of phthalate plasticizers    classed as health haz-      difficult to break down and ac-
 to slow up the                           substances that        can be found in plastics     ards. They are absorbed     cumulate in nature, animals and
 spread of a fire. As                     accumulate in the      used in flooring, carpet-    by humans through           humans. Some are toxic, have
 the environmental                        environment. They      ing, wallpaper, cables       breathing, foodstuffs       disruptive reproductive effects
 and health impact                        are present in fatty   and other plastic objects.   and skin contact.           and may be carcinogenic.




stances everywhere
     biocides in practically every kind of fruit and vegeta-             Our clothing industry has one of the biggest thirsts
     ble, but they seldom exceed the calculated limits for            for chemicals. A single T-shirt requires 0.7 kilos of
     individual biocides. On the other hand, it’s common for          chemicals to produce, according to a survey carried out
     there to be many different chemicals in the same piece           by the Swerea research institute. Many of these sub-
     of fruit. There can be residues from over twenty differ-         stances are still in the garment when it is sold.
     ent biocides in a single grape. Our food also contains              “It’s important for us to remember that skin is not an
     many persistent substances such as dioxins. Herring              impervious barrier against chemicals. Toxic substances
     from the Baltic Sea have dioxin levels that are far above        can migrate from clothes to the body when they are in
     permissible levels and may not even be used as animal            contact with the skin,” says Nardono Nimpuno, policy
     feed in the EU. But they may be sold for human con-              manager at the ChemSec International Chemical Sec-
     sumption in Sweden and Finland.                                  retariat. l
                                                                                                                                                   ChemICal
                                                                                                                                                   reaCtIon
                                                                                                                                                   Protests outside the
                                                                                                                                                   toys r us toy store
                                                                                                                                                   in new york, uSa,
                                                                                                                                                   against the sale of
                                                                                                                                                   toys made from PVC
                                                                                                                                                   (polyvinyl chloride).
                                                                                                                                                   the demonstration
                                                                                                                                                   was organized by the
                                                                                                                                                   teamsters union and
                                                                                                                                                   the american envi-
                                                                                                                                                   ronmental organiza-
                                                                                                                                                   tion the Center for
                                                                                                                                                   health, environment
                                                                                                                                                   & Justice (CheJ). the
                                                                                                                                                   two groups are of the
                                                                                                                                                   opinion that the toy
                                                                                                                                                   store chain and toy
                                                                                                                                                   distributors should
                                                                                                                                                   ban all toys made
                                                                                                                                                   from the material as
                                                                                                                                                   research has shown
                                                                                                                                                   that PVC may be
                                                                                                                                                   harmful to children.
                                                                                                                                                   PVC was discovered
                                                                                                                                                   in the 1930s and is
                                                                                                                                                   one of the most com-
                                                                                                                            PhoTo: geT TY ImAgeS




                                                                                                                                                   mon types of plastic.
                                                                                                                                                   When PVC is burned
                                                                                                                                                   certain substances
                                                                                                                                                   are released that are
                                                                                                                                                   suspected of being
                                                                                                                                                   environmentally
                                                                                                                                                   hazardous.
12 Risk: Chemicals




              Why don’t
            we know more?
                        Chemical risk assessment is lagging behind.
                        r i S k y.
           Only a fraction of all chemicals in industrial production have
        been studied in depth. Not only because we lack efficient tests to cope
         with the enormous quantity, but also because chemicals are able to
         cause harm to the environment and our health in many and much
                 more complicated ways than we hitherto believed.
                                                            tex t: Gitta n c ed erva l l




   D
                         uring the past thirty years we have                             He and his colleagues are developing models that
                         only studied a few of the tens of                            can predict the toxicity of various chemical mixtures
                         thousands of chemicals that are all                          so that risk assessment is based on chemical cocktails
                         around us. Now we need to speed                              instead of one substance at a time.
                         up the process,” says Åke Bergman,                              Another relatively recent insight concerns the rela-
                         internationally renowned Research                            tionship between dose and effect. It has become appar-
   Scientist and Professor of Environmental Chemistry at                              ent over time that it’s simply not the case that exposure
   Stockholm University.                                                              to a large dose of a chemical necessarily means large
       Scientists and risk assessors have traditionally                               effects, and conversely, that low doses mean low effects.
   researched one chemical at a time, laboriously apply-                              Chemicals may have many different effects that are not
   ing methods for determining how toxic chemicals are,                               always apparent at the same dosage. This has in turn
   substance by substance.                                                            great significance for how the toxicity of a substance
       “We must get better at quickly assessing the risks                             should be tested. Standard tests that set limits and toler-
   of the chemicals we use, so we need new test methods                               ance levels for daily dosages may well miss e.g. special
   that cover more than one substance at a time,” says Åke                            low dose effects.
   Bergman.
       He feels that scientists and decision makers must                              for exaMPLe, the effects of bisPhenoL a in low
   exploit the knowledge that exists about individual                                 doses are much disputed and this is partly because
   chemicals in order to be able to assess the risks of other,                        scientists and in particular risk assessors disagree over
   similar chemicals. It simply takes too much time to                                how the substance should be tested. The published re-
   carry out equivalent in-depth studies of every chemical.      Åke Bergman,         sults of more and more research studies show effects at
                                                                 Professor of envi-
                                                                                      very low doses despite standard tests’ not showing any
                                                                 ronmental Chem-
   cheMicaLs can aLso       react or combine with each           istry at Stockholm   effects at such low levels.
   other in different ways, and because large quantities of      university
   different chemicals converge in the environment and                                the Long-terM effects of constant exposure to low
   in our bodies, scientists have begun to understand that                            doses is another problem that interests researchers
   they also need to consider the so-called cocktail effect                           more and more. For example, it has been demonstrated
   when it’s time to assess a chemical. For example, chemi-                           that lead affects children’s intelligence at very low
   cal cocktails have proven themselves able to influence                             levels of exposure.
   gender distribution in water fleas, despite the fact that                              The persistence of chemicals and their possible
   on their own the chemicals have no demonstrable effect        thomas Back-         bioaccumulation has great significance in this context.
   at the doses used.                                            haus, research       Many chemicals, not just those that persist and ac-
       “The cumulative effect of mixtures is almost always       Scientist at the     cumulate biologically, are widespread throughout the
                                                                 Department of
   significantly greater than the effects of the individual                           environment, and we are therefore exposed to many
                                                                 Plant and environ-
   chemicals,” says Thomas Backhaus, Research Scientist          mental Sciences,     different substances all of our lives. Fetal exposure may
   at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences         university of        have effects that do not become apparent until adult
   at the University of Gothenburg.                              Gothenburg.          life. l
                                                                                                                                                     13




the law does not stop the toxins in your shoes
europe has the best chemical legislation in the world. But how far-reaching is it?

a Pair of neW sneakers, straight                 candidate list.                                      of goods that are protected by special,
from the factory along with thousands                “of the chemicals used in europe                 stricter regulations. The groups include
of others are on their way in a container.       today, 80 per cent are still insufficiently          cosmetics, toys, home electronics, phar-
They’ve been shipped half way around             tested in respect of their impact on                 maceuticals and foodstuff additives.
the world and now they are being unload-         health and the environment,” says                     The eu established a common chemi-
ed in a harbour. They will soon be sold in       Christina rudén. So we have a massive                cals authority in 2007 – eChA – located
a store in one of the Nordic countries.          shortfall of knowledge regarding the                 in helsinki. Among other things, eChA is
    A whole range of chemicals were              harmful effects of substances; it is our             responsible for keeping the candidate
used to produce this single pair of              biggest problem today. Meanwhile,                          list updated.
shoes, such as phthalates (to soften the         there is a rapid growth in the                                  “We estimate that the list will
plastic), chromium and cadmium (for              number of new chemicals,                      “80                 grow from 38 substances in
tanning the leather) and strong solvents         but legislation changes at a                                        the autumn of 2010 to just
                                                                                       per cent of the
(in the adhesive).                               slower pace. Thus the gap                                            over 100 in 2012, says eva
                                                 between growth and regu-
                                                                                    chemicals used in
    The phthalates remain, and residual                                                                               Sandberg, Senior Scien-
                                                 lation is not being reduced
                                                                                     europe today are
amounts of the other chemicals are                                                                                    tific officer at eChA. We
also still in the sneakers. Not much, but        at all, on the contrary the
                                                                                     still insufficiently             carry out a pretty thorough
enough for us to recognize the smell             opposite is happening.                     tested.”                 scientific investigation on
                                                                                          Christina rudén
of brand new shoes. The package is                   but she still does not                                         every substance, so it takes
inspected at customs. eu chemicals               hesitate to call the eu’s                                        time.”
legislation is considered the best in            chemicals legislation – which                                    The green movement’s equiv-
the world. Does this mean we can be              even extends to Norway and the other                   alent of the candidate list, the SIN list,
confident that the shoes are safe if they        eeS countries – as the best in the world.            contains 356 substances. both lists are
are allowed entry into europe?                       “North America, China … everyone is              based on identical criteria formulated in
                                                 looking at the european legislation. And             reACh. The fact that the results are so
no. a cheMicaL anaLysis of all the               California, which has come the farthest              dissimilar reflects the great uncertainty
goods that cross our borders is of                  in the uSA, wants to introduce some-              surrounding the issue, and the amount
course impossible, which is why                           thing similar to the eu’s reACh             of room for different interpretations
many products that enter are                                 chemicals regulations.                   that exists.
in breach of eu chemicals
                                        “We estimate
legislation. but if we as-            that the list will         euroPean legislation                echa aLso administers the enormous
sume that every law is                  grow from 38             focuses great attention on          database that is under construction
followed in every respect,           substances in the            chemicals and chemical             which contains information from every
can we feel confident                autumn of 2010 to            combinations such as –             chemicals producer and importer in the
then?                                 just over 100 by           paints, cleaning agents,            eu. by 2018, every chemical substance
   “No,” says Christina                      2012”              industrial chemicals and             sold in total quantities greater than
rudén, Toxicologist and re-               eva Sandberg        so forth. on the other hand,           one ton per year, and their producers
search Scientist at the royal In-                           regulations regarding chemical           or importers, must be registered in the
stitute of Technology in Stockholm.                     residues are “extremely rudimen-             database, otherwise the chemicals may
While the manufacturer must inform the             tary” according to Christina rudén, with          not be sold on the market. registration
importer if the shoes contain traces of            the exception of a number of groups               began in 2010 starting with those sub-
any of the 38 especially hazardous sub-                                                                      stances that are traded in the
stances that are included on the eu’s                                                                          largest amounts – more than
so-called candidate list, the importer                                                                              one thousand tonnes per
does not need to pass this information                                                                                annum – plus those we
on to you, the consumer, unless you spe-                                                                               already know belong to
cifically ask for it. If you do ask you have                                                                             the most dangerous
the right to an answer – within 45 days.                                                                                  group.
                                                                                                                           text: anders nilsson
if the shoes Do not contain
chemicals from the candidate list – or
indeed substances that are even more
hazardous and totally prohibited or
require special permits – then there’s
no stopping them in principle,” explains
Christina rudén. but there are many
substances that are suspected of being
hazardous to humans and/or the envi-
ronment, that are not included on the
14 Risk: IT




                THE IT
                THREAT     You are connected to the net via
              c y B e r a t ta c k .
         your computer, your mobile and your tablet. You risk
        attacks that can empty your bank account or seriously
        harm your company. Forget teen hackers. Today’s inter-
             net criminals are much more sophisticated.
                                                    t ex t: ove GuSta fSSon




        M
                                ore and more of us now have, in         For a long while people who wrote virus software
                                addition to a computer, mobile       and other malware for proliferation via the internet
                                phones with internet connec-         were mostly gifted youths with a need to assert them-
                                tions or tables. The internet is     selves. While their malware may well have caused
                                on the rise and so too are those     significant costs as it ravaged the computers of compa-
                                who would harm net users. The        nies and authorities causing them to overload and crash,
        risks are greater today, and an internet attack would be a   their prime objective was really only childish bragging
        painful experience for individuals and companies alike.      rights.
           “They are committed to their attacks and are serious         “We have other enemies. By far the biggest group
        about what they do. The severity level is much greater       we are up against is criminal gangs that make money
        today and they are our biggest headache,” says Mikko         from their attacks, and once they have made money this
        Hyppönen, head researcher at the Finnish anti-virus          way they become much more motivated,” says Mikko
        company F-Secure.                                            Hyppönen.
15
16 Risk: IT




                                            The most likely
                                            way of getting
                                     infected today is just
                                     by surfing the
                                     internet.
                                     mikko hyppönen




                                                               mIKKo
                                                               hyPPönen
      For example, they can install hidden software in your    Finnish data             “We have seen big Nordic newspaper sites hacked
                                                               security expert
   computer to capture what you write via your keyboard                             into – they looked perfectly normal but people who
                                                               Mikko hyppönen
   and pass it back to them – a so-called key logger. Later,   is ranked among      went to the sites got infected,” says Mikko Hyppönen.
   when someone with a key logger buys something on the        the world’s 50           According to Mikko, the best way to protect yourself
   internet and enters their credit card information, the      most important       is to have an updated ant-virus programme running,
   criminals steal it and make their own purchases, which      internet pundits     and also to keep your operating system up to date,
   they then sell to make money. Another method internet       according to         and even have the latest media player versions of
                                                               pC World. he
   criminals use is software that intervenes when you log                           programmes like QuickTime, Java and Flash.
                                                               is head of
   on to your internet bank to pay your bills, and redirects   research at the
                                                                                        “Or you could consider using something other
   the money to a different account.                           data security        than Windows. That really does the trick,” says Mikko
                                                               company F-Se-        Hyppönen.
   the Way in Which MaLWare is spread is also different        cure in helsinki
   today. Email used to be the most common.                    and collaborates     for exaMPLe, Mac os x is great when you need to
      “Today you’re more likely to get infected by some-       with police          feel safe and confident on the net, but not because it’s
                                                               authorities in the
   thing just by surfing the net, so the internet has become                        any safer than Windows 7. The reason is that only four
                                                               uSA, Asia and
   the biggest problem,” says Mikko Hyppönen.                  europe regarding     per cent of the world’s computers use Mac OS X while
      For example, someone who wants to spread malware         the discovery of     just over 57 per cent run Windows XP, which is ten
   can create a webpage that only contains a lot of com-       criminals online.    years old and whose security is “ridiculous” accord-
   mon search words so that search engines like Google         he has also led      ing to Mikko Hyppönen. It’s simply not tempting for
   easily find it. When someone makes a search using           efforts to stop      criminals to try their luck with Mac users when there is
   one of the words they open the fake site, enter and get     several signifi-     a much larger, easier quarry.
                                                               cant viruses.
   infected.                                                                           According to Mikko Hyppönen the Nordic countries
      Another way is hacking into a well-known, usually                             have a pretty good idea of what matters regarding mal-
   reliable website.                                                                ware, at least compared to other countries.
                                                                                                                                                                    17




                                                                                                                                         Ph oTo : geT T Y Im AgeS
                                                              the target of the Stuxnet computer worm was the nuclear
                                                              power programme in Iran.



                                                              target: Iran’s nuclear power
                                                              Cyber warfare is no longer something that belongs to science
                                                              fiction. last summer the most advanced computer worm ever
                                                              was discovered; its objective was to eliminate Iran’s nuclear
                                                              power programme. the perpetrator? most likely another state
                                                              using the same means as internet hackers.

                                                              the ComPuter Worm was called            “Now we can see how coun-
                                                              Stuxnet and it spread across         tries use Trojans and back doors
                                                              the internet for a year. Mikko       to achieve their aims,” he says,
                                                              hyppönen, Data Security expert       and points out that these forms
                                                              at the Finnish antivirus company     of cyber espionage and sabotage
                                                              F-Secure, explains why Stuxnet       are not directed toward ordinary
                                                              is unique in many ways. It cost      individuals or companies.
                                                              several million dollars to pro-
                                                              duce and its actual development      In 2007 a larGe SCale   so-called
                                                              took a great deal of time. but the   denial of service attack was
                                                              most remarkable thing is that        deployed against estonia via the
                                                              Stuxnet exists to impact the real    internet, which entailed direct-
                                                              world, not cyberspace.               ing heavy internet traffic to web-
                                                                                                   sites until they crashed. A more
                                                              In an orDInary   personal com-       topical example is the denial-
    But there are other risks involved when we surf the       puter the worm does no harm,         of-service attack by Wikileaks
internet.                                                     but the infected computer is         supporters in December of
    “In a recent survey Norway was named as Europe’s          used to silently pass Stuxnet        2010 when among others Visa,
most naive country, and the other Nordic countries were       along. The worm’s objective          MasterCard and the Swedish
not far behind. We live in a very safe environment; we        was the control system for the       prosecution Authority were hit.
have a culture that is based on trust so we fall easy prey    uranium enrichment centrifuges          Mikko hyppönen doesn’t
                                                              used in Iran’s atomic power pro-     think this kind of attack should
to social engineering,” says Peggy Sandbekken Heie,
                                                              gramme. The uranium must be          be called cyber warfare, or even
Senior Adviser at NorSIS, the Norwegian Centre for            spun at extremely high speeds        war at all.
Information Security.                                         for weeks or months in order for        “What we often see when
                                                              the process to work. The opera-      we experience these massive
sociaL engineering in an IT security context means            tion is extremely sensitive and      internet attacks is a new kind of
tricking people encountered on the internet into pro-         the speed must remain constant       internet activism, or hacktivism
                                                              or the final product will be of      as some people call it.
viding confidential information, e.g. how to access a
                                                              too poor quality to use. Stuxnet
company’s computer system.                                    makes short, intensive changes       Internet haCKtIVISm is a gen-
    If the employee is naive, then of course the company      to centrifuge speed while also       erational issue. In the old days
also suffers.                                                 tricking the control system so       people went out and demon-
    “When it comes to the risks involved in social engi-      that no-one notices it happen-       strated, but today’s youths meet
neering we must understand that the boundary between          ing.                                 up on the internet to carry out
work and private life has disappeared. People are out on                                           attacks when they are indignant
                                                              eVen thouGh    no proof exists,      about something.
Facebook and other social networks and fail to remember
                                                              Mikko hyppönen believes that            “This is just as natural for
that they also represent their workplace then. And if they    only another state could have        them as demonstrating; they see
hold positions that involve security responsibility e.g. at   had the ability and motive to        no difference. It’s all the same to
a bank, they can become the target for hackers or people      produce Stuxnet.                     them,” says Mikko hyppönen. l
who need information,” says Peggy Sandbekken Heie. l
18 Risk: IT




                     Can we switch
                     off the internet?
                                    People in the Nordic countries are
                     don e Su r f i nG.
                     irreversibly dependent on the internet. But shut
                     down a couple of power stations and you can wave
                        goodbye to the web. Or maybe when a technical
                          fault switches off the Nordic top level domains.




                                                                                                  W
                              t
                                  ex
                                       t:                                                                                henever we measure the propor-
                                            ov
                                                 e                                                                       tions of internet users in the
                                                     Gu
                                                          St                                                             nations of the world, the Nordic
                                                               a                                                         countries are up there at the top
                                                                   f
                                                                                                                         time after time.
                                                                   SS
                                                                       on




                                                                                                                            Our authorities have followed
                                                                        ph




                                                                                                                         their populations’ examples and
                                                                            ot




                                                                                                  society today is utterly dependent on computers and the
                                                                             o:




                                                                                                  internet.
                                                                                 hå
                                                                                  ka




                                                                                                      What would happen if the internet were switched
                                                                                  n B




                                                                                                  off suddenly in one of the Nordic countries?
           The financial
                                                                                      erG




                                                                                                      “Catastrophe is probably too strong a word, but
           system would                                                                           the country would definitely be hobbling along on
                                                                                          Ström




                                                                                                  crutches,” says Erland Jonsson, Professor of Computer
    collapse and take a lot                                                                       Security at Chalmers University of Technology in Goth-
    of things with it.                                                                            enburg, Sweden.
    erland Jonsson                                                                                    According to Eurostat, the EU’s own statistics office,
                                                                                                  96 per cent of companies in Finland use the internet in
                                                                                                  their contacts with authorities. In Denmark the figure
                                                                                                  is 90 per cent, and in Sweden 86.
                                                                                                      In Norway 83 per cent of the population does its
                                                                                                  banking online, 57 per cent of Finns go online for
                                                                                                  information regarding their health, and 95 per cent of
                                                                                                  Sweden’s basic social functions can be used to the full
                                                                                                  via the internet.

                                                                                                  aLthough the it society’s       functions simplify our
                                                                                                  lives, our eagerness to integrate into the internet means
                                                                                                                                                   19




that our transformation into computer-dependent soci-           addresses made up of numerals. When you enter an ad-
eties is now irrevocable.                                       dress in your browser it is translated unseen to the ap-
    “That’s the way I see it. If the internet disappeared       propriate combination of numerals by a so-called DNS
for some reason it would be possible to recreate the old        server. If the servers handling the .no addresses were to    It’s technically
procedures but it would be painful and time consuming.          crash, none of the .no sites and email addresses that end    possible, but
In reality I think we’re stuck with the new technology,         in .no would be found except by those who knew the           it seems
for better or for worse,” says Erland Jonsson.                  correct IP address. For most users in Norway it would        extremely
    Shutting down the internet at a national level would        be as though the internet had shut down.
hit various parts of society differently. Immediate prob-
                                                                                                                             unlikely.
lems for private individuals would mainly be of a matter        “attacks against the internet          have happened; Es-    robin Sharp, on wheth-
                                                                                                                             er the internet could be
of inconvenience.                                               tonia is an infamous example. Somebody generated an          shut down in one of the
    “It depends on how quickly we find new ways                 enormous amount of traffic; the Estonians believe it was     nordic countries.
around the problem. There are often less efficient alter-       the Russians. Internet contact is not lost during such
natives available, but we have become unused to looking         an attack, but it is no longer possible to communicate
for them,” says Viiveke Fåk, Associate Professor in             as all capacity is used up,” says Robin Sharp, Associate
Information Theory at Linköping University in Sweden.           Professor of IT Security at the Technical University of
                                                                Denmark.
soMe of society’s functions would suffer major                  He thinks that most of these kinds of attacks are politi-
problems. Health care, however, would cope reasonably           cal acts.
well.                                                               “The Julian Assange affair (attacks against e.g. the
    “Health care subjects itself to extremely tough de-         Swedish Prosecution Authority after the arrest of the
mands; it needs resources in reserve and also the ability       Wikileaks founder – editor’s comment) was also a
to access essential information. On the other hand, we          political act. There is always the risk that someone be-
can see that long distance communications are not part of       comes motivated to carry out some kind of political act.     robin Sharp is
this,” says Viiveke Fåk, who adds that even though physi-       It could be absolutely anyone,” says Robin Sharp.            associate Profes-
cal medical records exist, it can be a problem if they are in       At the same time he emphasizes that the internet is      sor of It Security
                                                                                                                             at the technical
Tromsø, northern Norway while the patient is in Oslo.           designed to find alternative routes when one is closed. It   university of
    There is however another sector that would be hit           would take an extremely widespread attack to com-            Denmark.
hard by the sudden lack of an internet.                         pletely shut down
    “The financial system would collapse and take a lot         internet connections
more along with it,” says Erland Jonsson.                       in a Nordic country.
                                                                    “It’s hard to
but couLD it haPPen? Experts agree that the answer              imagine the entire in-
is yes. Most brutal and damaging of all would be a              ternet being blocked
physical attack.                                                before someone no-
    “You just need to bomb a few power stations and it’s        ticed what was going
all over, or a few central servers and the internet would       on. It’s technically
in principle be gone. I think this would be pretty easy to      feasible but it seems
do if you know where the weak points are. If you attack         extremely unlikely,”
the infrastructure you can cause immense damage with            says Robin Sharp. l
pretty simple means, but it would need to be in a war
scenario,” says Erland Jonsson.
    At least one conceivable way of the internet shutting
down in peacetime is if one of our national top level
domains like .se or .no were to crash, due either to a
physical attack or severe technical problems.
    Web pages do not really have addresses such as
www.politiken.dk or www.iltasanomat.fi; they have IP
20 Risk: Nanotechnology




    the golden packet conceals two layers
    of a special paper where cellulose from
    algae has been mixed with the substance
    polypyrrole. the two layers are separated
    by an ordinary filter paper soaked in a
    saline solution. there are two paper-thin
    electrodes on the outside.
                                                                                                                           21


                      A biodegradable remote control
n a n o t e c h n o l o G y.
with a battery based on cellulose from ordinary algae.
Just one of many visions that nanotechnology scientist
Maria Strømme is working on. Structures that are invisi-
ble to the naked eye will revolutionise our world. Artificial
organs, invisibility cloaks and space lifts. No-one knows
where nanotechnology will take us.




THE HUNT FoR
THE pERFECT
MATERIAL
                                                              M
                                    t ext: a nn fernhol m                         aria Strømme, professor of nano-
                               ph oto : ric ka rd kil Ström                       technology at Uppsala University,
                                                                                  pulls something out of a laboratory
                                                                                  cupboard that looks like the creations
                                                                                  kids bring home from daycare. Two
                                                              pieces of silver foil attached to a little golden packet.
                                                                  “It’s a piece of an ordinary coffee packet; fantastic
                                                              material – airtight and watertight. It’s called coffee bag
                                                              sealing,” she tells us.
                                                                  The golden packet conceals something that is as
                                                              simple as it is ingenious. It is the prototype of an ex-
                                                              ceedingly eco-friendly battery based on cellulose from
                                                              green algae. Cellulose has been used for a long while
                                                              in the pharmaceuticals industry as a binding agent in
                                                              tablets, so scientists already know that cellulose from
                                                              precisely from green algae have a special nanostructure
                                                              – a three-dimensional net with many small voids and an
                                                              extremely large surface area.
                                                                  A few years ago Maria Strømme and two other scien-
                                                              tists were discussing this particular nanomaterial over
                                                              a cup of coffee. What else could they use it for? They
22 Risk: Nanotechnology




   today nanotechnology Professor maria
   Strømme, originally from lofoten, norway,
   carries out research at uppsala university
   in Sweden and sees many possibilities for
   nanotechnology. “It’s difficult to think of an
   area where nanotechnology won’t have an
   effect.”
                                                              23




  the algae battery consists of three components; paper-
  thin carbon electrodes, the chargeable algae-paper and a
  regular filter paper soaked in a saline solution.



      I compare nanotechnology
      to a tool chest that helps us
customize the properties of materials
– everything from materials for energy
storage to new medications or
construction materials. maria Strømme
didn’t think of batteries, but while they were working
with the cellulose they discovered that the nano-net was
able to store large quantities of charged ions.
   “It was possible to charge the cellulose quickly and it
had a reasonable capacity,” says Maria Strømme.
   They built a prototype battery and achieved a great deal
of media exposure when it worked. The algae battery is
just one of many examples of how nanostructures, be they
natural or man-made, can radically alter technology.
    “Nanotechnology will have an influence on every
area. I compare nanotechnology to a tool chest that
helps us customize a material’s properties – everything
from materials for energy storage to new medications or
construction materials. It’s difficult to think of an area
where nanotechnology won’t have an effect,” says Maria
Strømme.

for exaMPLe, a coLLeague in her hoMeLanD
Norway, designs nanosurfaces that control cells so that
they create a latticework of blood vessels. James Lorens,
Professor of Biomedicine at the University of Bergen,
has a goal that sounds like pure science fiction. He and
his collaborative partners want to be able to cultivate
replacement body parts – three-dimensional organs with
working blood circulation.
   They build a three-dimensional supporting frame-
work out of biodegradable materials to which undevel-
oped stem cells can attach. They fix molecules that con-
trol how the stem cells will develop into more specialized
cells to the supporting framework’s surface.
   “In order for the cells to grow together in the correct
manner they must have the right conditions. We have
demonstrated our ability to produce nanosurfaces that
24 Risk: Nanotechnology


   signal the cells and cause them to behave in a particular
   manner,” says James Lorens.
                                                                        mini nano-                             This kind of technology
      Molecules important for the body such as DNA and                  course                                 is of interest to doctors who
   proteins are nanosize, which is why biotechnology and                materials behave differ-         are not able to carry out tests at a
                                                                        ently in the nanoworld. a
   nanotechnology can cross-pollinate each other. Maria
                                                                        substance such as gold           healthcare centre today. maria Strømme
   Strømme tells us how she and her research group ex-                  can for example be shiny
   ploit this in the development of a new nanodiagnostics               blue.
   tool for the world of medicine.
                                                                        The word nano derives
                                                                        from the greek word for
   she oPens another cuPboarD            and this time she
                                                                        dwarf and is used as a
   pulls out a little vial with a brownish-red liquid. She              prefix in the unit of length
   shakes it a bit and tells us it contains invisible iron oxide        nanometre. If you divide a
   nanoparticles to which they have attached similarly                  millimetre by one million
   invisible DNA strands. The DNA strands are specially                 you get a nanometre. In
   designed so that they are able to capture DNA from a                 principle, nanotechnol-
                                                                        ogy includes all technol-
   patient test sample for e.g. meningococci, which cause               ogy that has a functional
   meningitis. The nanoparticles rotate in an electromag-               component between 1
   netic circuit, and if they get a reaction they spin more             and 100 nanometres.
   slowly, which causes a response in the circuit.                         Material this small
       “This kind of technology is of interest to doctors               begins to behave much
                                                                        differently. A substance
   who are not currently able to carry out certain tests at
                                                                        such as gold does not
   a healthcare centre. The aim is to avoid having tests                have a yellow shine in
   that must be sent to the hospital lab. It takes time and is          the nanoworld. Instead it
   expensive,” says Maria Strømme.                                      can be blue, green or red
       She talks enthusiastically about her work at the                 depending on its size and
                                                                        shape. For example car-
   laboratory, but soon she has to dash. A meeting is taking
                                                                        bon can become electri-
   place outside where a number of interested parties are               cally conductive in the na-
   discussing how to optimize the algae battery. Poten-                 noworld. This is because
   tial areas of use for the battery are in combustible TV              the so-called laws of
   remotes or as insulation in building walls that is able to           quantum mechanics are
                                                                        obeyed there. The laws of
   store energy from solar cells. Maybe algae batteries can
                                                                        physics we are used to in
   run sensors in work clothes that e.g. detect hazardous               our giant world, such as
   chemical fumes in the surroundings. Right now no-one                 gravitation, become more
   knows how this story will take us. l                                 or less meaningless.




      nanotech in practice
                                                                                        It is the hunt for ever faster computers that has driven the
                                                                                        advance of nanotechnology. But today nanotech is used in a
                                                                                        number of different areas. here are a few examples:


            british sci-                Carbon can form                  The gecko can walk                  Many cancer               Arsenic binds to
       1    entists have
                                   2    long carbon
                                                                    3    up walls thanks to
                                                                                                        4    treatment
                                                                                                                                  5    the nanoparti-
      attempted to make          nanotubes. These are              more than three billion             researchers encap-        cles in ordinary rust
      invisibility cloaks.       extremely strong. Sci-            nano-thin “hairs” under             sulate chemotherapy       (iron oxide). Ameri-
      They create nano-          entists are investigat-           their feet. positive and            toxins in nanoparti-      can scientists are
      structures that affect     ing whether they can              negative charges in the             cles. They place mol-     experimenting with
      light waves. Instead       make a long carbon                hairs are attracted                 ecules on the surface     this for purifying water
      of bouncing off of         nanotube wire strong              to positive and                     of the particles that     contaminated with
      the surface the light      enough to support                 negative charges                    specifically attach to    arsenic. once the ar-
      waves are led around       a lift up into space.             in the wall.                                cancer cells.     senic has bonded with
      it. When light is not      Scientists have also              Scientists have                              In this way      the nanoparticles it
      reflected from a           made a radio out of a             created artificial                            they are able   can be fished out us-
      surface, we can no         single carbon nano-               gecko tape.                                   to direct the   ing a normal magnet.
      longer see it.             tube. others have used            Maybe                                        toxins toward    This can help in e.g.
                                 nanotubes to make tiny            it will                                    a tumor, thus      bangladesh, where
                                 components for future             help us                                 concentrating the     many people are killed
                                 computers.                        keep our                                 treatment and        by well water contami-
                                                                   pictures stuck to the                      making it more     nated with arsenic.
                                                                   wall in the future.                          effective.
                                                                                                                 25




Nano = mega danger?
          Nanotechnology can provide us with everything
      risks.
 from faster computers to better cancer medicines. But there
is another side to the coin. The effect nanoparticles may have
    on people and nature is what worries scientists most.




C
                                            tex t: a nn fernhol m

                andlebars reinforced with carbon          than a company that only produces one ton. But
                nanotubes, socks treated with             because nanoparticles are so small and light, the
                bactericidal silver nanoparticles and     weight limits should be lower.
                nano-based surface treatment agents           “There are proposals for adopting other limits
                in the bathroom. These are a few          for the import and production of nanoparticles,”
                examples of nanoproducts already on       says Håkan Wallin.
sale in our stores.
   Their common denominator is the fact that they         scientists have aLso      discovered that tests that
contain nanoparticles, i.e. particles that are between   show whether or not a chemical substance can
1 and 100 nanometers in diameter. They can consist       cause genetic changes, do not work for nanoparti-
of any chemical substance you like, but their mini-      cles. Scientists use bacteria in these tests. But the
   mal size may make the substance affect the body       bacteria cells are effective at shutting out nanopar-
                     in unusual ways.                    ticles, which prevents the latter from reaching the
                                                         genes. Human cell walls however, allow nanoparti-
                             one exaMPLe is the          cles to pass.
                             element carbon. Carbon          The EU and the OECD are currently evaluating
                             is harmless as barbecue     what kind of toxicity tests work for nanoparticles,
                           briquettes or in the form of  and whether we need new types of test.
diamonds. But carbon in the nanoworld – so-called            “For example, new data shows that nanoparticles
nanotubes – has a shape similar to that of asbestos      can be absorbed by the digestive system. In some
fibre and has caused lung                                                       of the studies the amount ab-
damage in animal tests.                         “Many studies                   sorbed was a tad more than I
   “Many studies have been                                                      expected,” adds Håkan Wallin.
                                      have been carried out and
carried out and some of
them show asbestos-like            some of them show asbestos- because there is stiLL
effects. We find this alarm-              like effects” håkan Wallin            a great deal of uncertainty
ing,” says Håkan Wallin,                                                        regarding the effects of na-
professor at the Danish National Research Centre         noparticles, the insurance industry is monitoring
for the Working Environment in Copenhagen.               developments.
   Silver nanoparticles are harmful to nature. They          Håkan Wallin is of the opinion that those who
release silver ions that are toxic to bacteria, fish     are currently taking the biggest risks are the pro-
and other organisms. On the other hand, titanium         ducers of products that contain nanoparticles. Gen-
dioxide nanoparticles are relatively harmless.           erally speaking there is no cause for alarm among
   EU chemical legislation – REACH – must be             consumers. If nanoparticles are
                      adapted to include nanopar-        encapsulated within cycle
                      ticles in order for us to have     handlebars or a liquid, they
                      full control over them. For        are not spread through the
                      example, the quantity limits       air. On the other hand it could
                      are unsuitable. A company that     be a good idea to be more
                      produces 100 tons of a chemi-      careful with spray cans that
                      cal has to carry out more tests    contain nanoparticles. l
26 Futurology panel



   Technology and climate
                                       What innovations do you                                   What are the risks and
                                         think will change our                                  what are you afraid might
                                       lives most in the future?                                 happen in the future?

                              “Nanotechnology will revolutionize our lives complete-    “I’m worried about youth unemployment and the fact
                              ly in the same way that electronics and IT have done.     that a number of economies are charging ahead a little
                              Above all, nanotechnology will impact healthcare and      too quickly so that the haves get more and the have-nots
                              how we produce pharmaceuticals, and it will make          continue to go without. This will result in a cruel society.
                              targeted treatment possible. but there are also risks     Another worry stems from how human health will be af-
                              involved. It’s possible to create chemical and biologi-   fected by our epoch’s changes. More and more people are
                              cal weapons for use in biological warfare. The eu has     becoming urbanized and spending increasing amounts
                              therefore set up a code of conduct that deals with the    of time in front of their computers, which entails the
    Christina Doctare,        risks and opportunities associated with nanotechnol-      fragmentation of the human context. Internet commu-
    Swedish doctor,           ogy.”                                                     nications are a fantastic capability, but if they replace
    author and social                                                                   human conversation – which depends on seeing the
    commentator.                                                                        other person’s reactions – then this is not good. It’s easy
                                                                                        to insult another person while hiding behind a computer.”


                              “one innovation that will change the world even more      “one is the risk of a terrorist organization smuggling
                              than it already has is open source computing, which       an atomic bomb into the uSA and detonating it e.g. in
                              is software produced and distributed by people who        New York. Another is the risk of a pandemic of the kind
                              do not expect any commercial return. A few examples       we have seen in the forms of bird flu and swine flu.
                              of important projects that use open source codes are      on the international level they were not so danger-
                              the Linux core, the mozilla/Firefox browser, Libreof-     ous – relatively few people died. If a new virus, that we
                              fice and Wikipedia. These innovations may lead to the     know nothing about today begins to spread it could
                              decentralization of the means of production and to        have more extensive consequences. We should not
    Klaus Æ. mogensen,        the poor gaining access to things that they previously    forget that it was less than 100 years ago when five
    Futurologist, Copen-      could not afford. I believe we have only witnessed the    per cent of the world population died of Spanish flu in
    hagen Institute for       beginning of this and that we can expect the same         under two years. We travel a great deal more today and
    Futures Studies.
                              developments within hardware.”                            viruses spread more rapidly.”


                              “Technological advances and innovations will continue     “The sociologists ulrich beck and Anthony giddens
                              to play significant roles even in tomorrow’s world and    introduced the concept of the risk society in the
                              facilitate the transition to a more sustainable future.   1990s. Since then, the world has been changing at an
                              More and more solutions that make our lives easier        incredible pace. There are many potential global and
                              and more sustainable will be realized thanks to cheap,    local risks and they have occurred due to such diverse
                              green technologies. ever more widespread robot            factors as economic instability, climate change, pov-
                              technology will also influence many aspects of our way    erty, global social inequality, political change, natural
                              of life. Today, the majority of the world’s population    disasters, a lack of dialogue and conflicts between
     heidi Waltari, Soci-     is online, and the global social media explosion has      different ethnic and religious groups. We can prepare
     ologist and Senior       already revolutionized our ways of thinking, staying      for many of these risks, but there are also risks against
     Futures Specialist,
                              in touch and communicating with each other. Social        which we lack the knowledge and opportunity to make
     helsinki, Finland.
                              media will have an increasing influence on politicians    preparations. The identification and analysis of even
                              and decision makers.”                                     the smallest warning sign is an important aspect of
                                                                                        preparing for the future.”


                              “Today the diagnosis and treatment of diseases are        “The lack of food and food security will be a major
                              based on patient groups. This works well for some but     problem in the future as a consequence of climate
                              not for everyone. Individuals with identical illnesses    change In addition, illnesses, influenza and other
                              react differently to the same treatment. In future        widespread diseases that have developed resistance
                              we will see more ”personalized” treatment where a         to today’s medications will be a risk in the future.”
                              patient’s genetic make-up is mapped, and based on
    Simon Geir møller, Pro-   this the patient will be treated individually. Another
    fessor at the Centre      innovation will be the early diagnosis of e.g. neurode-
    for organelle research    generative illnesses; today’s diagnoses appear late in
    at the university of      the course of the disease and current medications are
    Stavanger, norway.        less effective then.”
                                                                                                                         27



affect the future
      What things today will we look                                        What factors will
      back on and shake our heads                                         affect our lives most
              at tomorrow?                                                    in the future?

 “our tunnel vision within healthcare instead of taking      “We will be forced to make changes in society result-
 a more holistic view and seeing human beings as a           ing from great changes in our common global environ-
 complete entity. We still take a nineteenth-century         ment and this will bring on new technologies and ways
 engineering view of the human body. All research            to manage our resources. health wise we face great
 shows that if we work preventively on our health and        challenges in adapting to a society that thinks we are
 stay in control of our lives we can cope with big misfor-   able to run faster and faster. our biology is as old as
 tunes. We’d be able to save society huge amounts of         time and we are the way we are. We will continue to
 money if we understood that everything is connected.        need recuperation, relaxation, rest and sleep to cope
 everyone is clamouring for more resources to be pro-        with being human. We can’t just keep on racing ahead;
 vided to healthcare, but today there are 42,000 doctors     we must ask ourselves what it is we’re chasing after.”
 in Sweden compared to 7,000 when I worked as a doc-
 tor at the end of the 1960s. Maybe the problem isn’t
 just about resources.”


 “our carbon dioxide emissions. A researcher in Canada       “Climate change. Calculations made in Copenhagen
 has calculated that if we were to cease all carbon          show that sea levels may rise by up to two metres.
 dioxide emissions today, global warming would still         Therefore new houses and the metro are being built
 continue for another 1,000 years. This puts the mess        with this possibility being prepared for. This exper-
 we’ve got ourselves in into perspective.”                   tise and forward planning does not exist in the third
                                                             world, where people are more exposed to the effects of
                                                             climate change. but technology can solve many of our
                                                             problems, including those caused by technology itself.”




 “over the past ten years our awareness of the nega-         “The consequences of climate change and the lack of
 tive effects of the consumer society has increased          resources will definitely impact societies and people
 dramatically among the populations of the west. More        globally. Another significant factor is technology – es-
 and more people are cutting back on their consump-          pecially in developing countries where we have already
 tion and learning to get by on less. They voluntarily       seen many positive changes in people’s lives thanks to
 choose a simpler lifestyle. I think many of us in the       innovations based on developed technologies.”
 future will regret not having done something sooner, or
 not even making the effort. Sooner or later many of us
 will come to regret our contribution to the keeping-up-
 with-the-Joneses culture when we should be seen as
 exemplars for our children and even consumers in less
 developed countries.”




 “our self-absorption and inability to see things in a big   “biotechnology will affect us every day whether it be
 perspective. We have restricted ourselves as human          through headache pills, visits to the doctor’s, food, the
 beings when it comes to financing and initiating for-       environment or energy. biotechnology and the way in
 ward-looking research programmes within medicine,           which we shape future biotechnology will impact our
 food, climate and energy. We have begun too late, now       lives.”
 that we begin to see the consequences. The research
 programmes are also too small, and unfortunately we
 invest in things that we are sure will work instead of in
 innovation for its own sake and research with no clear
 objectives. We need to take risks. There are no bespoke
 inventions.”
28 Commentary: Magnus Lindkvist




                         Surprise Attack
        In an ever-more unpredictable world tomorrow’s risks will be handled
           best by organizations that have undergone a cultural revolution.




         A
                          dam suffers from insomnia and de-              1. act first!
                          votes his nights to composing music            Following the Indian Ocean tsunami catastrophe
                          on his computer. Over the past ten             of December 2004, the Swedish government was
                          years technological advances have              criticized for its inability to act while the travel com-
                          made professional tools available at           panies were praised for their efforts. This was due to
         no cost. Therefore despite Adam’s amateur status his            cultural differences. Every organization has a spon-
         work sounds really good. Adam Young composed a                  taneous response that takes over when something
         world hit on his home computer using his stage name             occurs. Governments tend to gather facts, analyze
         Owl City.                                                       and discuss things. Travel companies must first and
             His story is not unique. Today individuals and              foremost act to solve problems. More organizations
         amateurs have more power than ever whether it be in             should cultivate an act-now-and-solve-the-problem
         music, film, share trading or communications.                   culture if they do not want the unexpected to run
             But suppose Adam is not                                                                  roughshod over them.
         a talented amateur musi-
         cian at all but a terrorist that                                                             2. exPeriMent!
         spends his nights download-                                                                  Adam Young had no idea
         ing bomb recipes or infect-                                                                  that his homespun melody
         ing nuclear power stations                                                                   would become a world hit.
         with computer viruses. This                                                                  Innovation is seldom about
         is where we find the source                                                                  planned, orderly processes
         of the greatest and most                                                                     and PowerPoint presenta-
         unpredictable of today’s                                                                     tions but very often about
         risks – creativity switched       magnus lindkvist is a Swedish trend forecaster and         individuals experimenting.
                                           futurologist. his company Pattern recognition aB helps
         to overload and a whole new                                                                  This is exactly what organi-
                                           organizations understand the future.
         way of reaching out.                                                                         zations need to encourage
                                                                         if they want to find new ideas for the future or new
         usa’s governMent probably interpreted the 9/11                  ways to counter future risks. Have the courage to
         attacks wrong when they created a gigantic, so-called           experiment!
         super department. It was no superpower that had
         bombed American targets but nineteen young men                  3. knoW nothing!
         armed with box cutters. It is not only governments              There’s an expression in Hollywood: “Nobody Knows
         that read today’s risks incorrectly. Most companies             Anything”. No-one knows whether a film will be the
         try to protect themselves against the unexpected                next hit or a flop. This is what more companies should
         when they perform risk analyses, but at the same                say about themselves – we don’t have an inkling. This
         time they encourage their employees to be more                  would open up our senses to new ideas; force us to
         innovative. And what is innovation if it isn’t experi-          listen to more people and to see every threat and op-
         menting and toying with the unexpected?                         portunity as a potential reality. Incompetence Train-
             Paradoxically, companies are exposed to the                 ing, no less.
         unforeseen and devote time to combating it while si-
         multaneously being in great need of unexpected ideas            research has shoWn that it takes at least five years
         or hunches. So managing tomorrow’s risks will not               to change a company’s culture if you work proactively.
         depend on big, new organizations and departments                We must decide today whether we shall return to the
         but on being able to parry and exploit the entirely             twentieth century’s predictable, dull risk landscape
         unanticipated. More to the point it’s about a cultural          or whether what we have experienced since the turn
         revolution with three important implications for you            of the century is the new normal, which demands we
         as a manager.                                                   start the Cultural Revolution now. l
                                                                   29




If 2010
If is the   Nordic region’s leading P&C insur-
ance company with 3.6 million customers in the Nordic
region, the Baltic States and Russia. If through its 6,400
employees can offer an entire spectrum of P&C insurance
solutions and services that provides security for all from
private individuals to global industrial companies.
    2010 was yet another       successful year for If.
Despite dramatic weather and record record snowfalls,
storms and downpours, the company exceeded its profit-
ability targets for the seventh year running with a techni-
cal result of SEK 4.284 million. The combined ratio was
92.8 per cent – this is better than the long-term target.
Cost effectiveness continued to improve and there was an
increase in the number of policies sold.
    These successes are the result of systematic, long-term
efforts in which strong customer focus, selective growth
strategy and cost effectiveness are the main elements.
    If’s business activities are carried out in the business ar-
eas Private, Commercial, Industrial and Baltic and Russia.
30


                  Business Idea, Strategy and Financial Targets
                  If’s vision is to be the Nordic and Baltic Region’s leading insurance company with the
                  most satisfied customers, the foremost insurance expertise and the best profitability.




                  Business Idea                                                         Combined ratio
                  If offers value-for-money insurance solutions that provide its
                  clients with security and stability for businesses, residences        2010                                                     92.8%

                  and everyday living.                                                  2009                                                     92.1%

                                                                                               0             20          40           60         80             100       %
                  Strategic Goals
                  If’s goal is to maintain, over the long term, better profitabi-
                  lity and customer satisfaction compared to our competitors,
                  coupled with high creditworthiness.                                   Technical result

                  Strategic Direction                                                   2010                                  4,284
                  Added Customer Value                                                  2009                                     5,184
                  If will exceed customer expectations through superior insur-
                  ance solutions, fast and fair claims handling and a friendly                 0              2,000           4,000           6,000            8,000      SEK million
                  service.

                  Focused Insurance Expertise
                                                                                        Operating profit/loss
                  If will resolutely strengthen the organization’s know-how and
                  ability in developing, pricing and selling insurance products         2010                                                   6,800
                  as well as its skills in loss prevention and claims handling.
                                                                                        2009                                                    6,901

                  Nordic Business Platform                                                     0              2,000           4,000           6,000            8,000      SEK million
                  If will create competitive advantage through economies of
                  scale and the dissemination of know-how transfer based on
                  integrated Nordic and Baltic organizations.
                                                                                        Average number of group employees 2010
                  Investment Strategy with Balanced Risk
                  If´s aim is to achieve a balance in risks in its insurance and        Denmark                    515
                  investment portfolios. If has as its investment strategy the          Estonia              290
                  balancing of insurance business undertakings with investment
                                                                                        Finland                                                               1,727
                  assets relating to currency accounts. Capital surplus will be
                  invested with the aim of increasing total yields.                     Latvia           109

                                                                                        Lithuania            146
                  Core Values
                                                                                        Norway                                                        1,533
                  Easy to Reach and Relate to
                  If´s personnel are easy to reach and its products and services        Russia                 201

                  are easy to understand.                                               Sweden                                                                    1,846

                                                                                        Others          24
                  Dedicated
                  If takes the initiative and cares about its customers.                            0                 500             1,000            1,500              2,000


                  Reliable                                                              Total average number of employees: 6,391
                  If keeps its promises and is there to help when needed.

                  Forward thinking
                  If leads developments forward and continually creates new
                  insurance products and services.




If’s Annual Report, 2010
                                                                                                                                   31


Market and Competitors
The Nordic region is the seventh largest P&C insurance market in Europe, with an esti-
mated premium value of around SEK 200 billion. Europe has a total premium value of SEK
4,220 billion. If is the Nordic region’s biggest and one of Europe’s 15 largest stock market
listed P&C insurance companies.




Nordic Region 2010                                                      Market shares
If is a purely property and casualty insurance company with an
                                                                        Sweden Q3 2010
integrated Nordic business organization. If’s market share is,
in total, equivalent to around one fifth of the Nordic market.                         Others 21%
In Sweden, Norway and Finland, If is one of the leading insur-                                              Länsförsäkringar 29%
ance companies with market shares of 19, 26 and 25 per cent
respectively. In Denmark, where there is a more fragmented                       Folksam 15%
market, If is the fifth largest company with a market share of
five per cent.                                                                                            If 19%
    The Nordic insurance market is relatively consolidated. The                  Trygg-Hansa 16%
five largest companies have almost two thirds of the market and
the four largest companies are established in more than one             Norway Q3 2010
Nordic country. Competition in the Nordic insurance market
                                                                                        Others 19%
has continued to be intensive over the past few years. For
example several players have shown high levels of activity in                                              Gjensidige 28%
strengthening their power of distribution via alliance partners               Sparebank1 10%
and the network services. In addition, banks have invested in
expanding their product range with P&C insurance products
                                                                                       Tryg 17%
and have in some cases operated as insurance providers.                                                    If 26%
    The past few years have been challenging for insurance
companies due to the financial crisis, and 2010 was also a
tough year. The year was characterized by dramatic fluctua-             Finland 2009
tions in the weather, including snow and record cold during                                 Others 9%
the winter months and storms and severe downpours during                        Lähivakuutus 9%
                                                                                                           Pohjola 28%
the summer, which has affected the Nordic insurance market
to a great degree. The trend in volume in certain product                         Fennia 10%
areas, particularly in the business sectors, continues to be
influenced by the financial crisis. On the other hand, the situ-
ation has improved regarding e.g. new car sales. The focus                          Tapiola 19%            If 25%
on costs and price adjustments within certain regions and
segments can be expected to continue during 2011 in light
of the market situation.                                                Denmark 2009
                                                                                                          Tryg 21%
Baltic States and Russia                                                           Others 31%
If is the largest company in the Estonian P&C insurance mar-
ket with a market share of 27 per cent. If lies in fourth and
                                                                                                             TopDanmark 19%
fifth place respectively in the Latvian (9 per cent market share)
                                                                                          If 5%
and Lithuanian (10 per cent market share) markets. Since
2006 If has also pursued business in Russia from its base in                        Alm Brand 10%       Codan 14%
St Petersburg.
                                                                        Baltic Q3 2010
                                                                                                           RSA 21%
                                                                                   Others 29%

                                                                                                                 BTA 15%
                                                                                 Gjensidige 7%

                                                                                           Ergo 13%     If 15%




                                                                                                              If’s Annual Report, 2010
32


                   If’s business areas
                   If’s business activities are run from a Nordic perspective. Activities are divided
                   into customer segments within the business areas Private, Commercial and
                   Industrial. The Baltic States and Russia, with their special market circumstances,
                   form a separate business area.




         Private                                                                     Commercial
         If is the leading insurance company for private individuals in the Nordic   Business Area Commercial’s target group is companies with up to 500
         region. Business Area Private has around three million customers in         employees. It is is the Nordic market leader and has around 330,000
         Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. The 2010 technical result was          companies as customers. The 2010 technical result was SEK 1,212
         SEK 2,256 million. The combined ratio was 93.0 per cent.                    million. The combined ratio was 93.5 per cent.



         How did 2010 go?                                                            How did 2010 go?
         “It was a good year. We got off to a tough start with a lot of snow-        “It went well, despite being very demanding. It was a year with a
         fall. Many customers suffered accidents and submitted insurance             very tough winter and therefore plenty of insurance claims, and the
         claims, but we handled the onrush superbly. Nine out of ten claim-          effects of the recession continued to impact on the entire industry.
         ants gave us top marks for claims handling.                                 But even so we enjoyed reasonable growth and a good result com-
             The year had entirely satisfactory results with a good combined         pared to many of our competitors, so on the whole I’m satisfied.”
         ratio and good volume growth, particularly in Denmark, but the
         other countries also did pretty well.”                                      What are the most significant trends?
                                                                                                       “The economy is on the upturn. Companies are
                              What are the most significant trends?                                    investing, sales are increasing and profitability
                              “The internet obviously shows strong positive                            has improved. This all affects us positively.
                              trends, especially regarding various service ap-                         Technological solutions that simplify the inter-
                              plications such as If Login, claims reporting                            action between insurance companies and cus-
                              and customers making changes to their own                                tomers are increasing in significance. It’s often
                              insurance themselves, such as amending annual                            a question about network solutions, though
                              car mileage.                                                             the help of which, the insurance company and
         Line Hestvik,           On a general level climate change is the            Ivar Martinsen,   the client company can exchange information
         Business Area        big issue. We experienced more extremes of             Business Area     easier, cheaper and more quickly than before.”
         Private.                                                                    Commercial.
                              weather during 2010 than I can ever remem-
         ber. Bitter cold at the beginning of the year, storms in Finland,           What will you invest in, in 2011?
         downpours in Denmark and a really grim end of year. It’s crucial            “We’ll be launching a number of new products that are better, sim-
         for us to understand what’s happening to our climate and how it             pler and more customer oriented than those on the market today.
         affects the insurance industry.”                                                We’ll also be focusing intensely on further improving our
                                                                                     customer services such as claims handling, which in my opinion
         What will you invest in, in 2011?                                           is already the best in the industry. However, we’ll still be working
         “The objective is continued profitable growth. Living up to our             even harder to offer to our customers: Claims handling the way it
         promises to the customer – “Relax, we’ll help you” and “Claims han-         should be.”
         dling the way it should be” will be a deciding factor in our success.”




         Gross premiums                                                              Gross premiums
         written by                    Denmark 8%                                    written by               Denmark 11%
                                                                                                                                       Sweden 18%
         country                                                                     country
                             Finland 20%
                                                                     Sweden 37%
                                                                                                       Finland 25%

                                                                                                                                           Norway 46%

                               Norway 35%




If’s Annual Report, 2010
                                                                                                                                                        33




Industrial                                                                     Baltic and Russia
Business Area Industrial is the biggest industrial insurer in the Nordic       Business Area Baltic and Russia comprises Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia
region and the fifth biggest provider of industrial insurance in Europe. Its   and Russia. The number of customers is around 425,000 private indi-
clients are Nordic companies with sales of more than SEK 500 million           viduals and companies. The technical result was SEK 141 million. The
and more than 500 employees. Business Area Industrial has around 1,300         combined ratio was 93.4 per cent.
clients. The technical result was SEK 623 million and the combined ratio
was 90.6 per cent.

How did 2010 go?                                                               How did 2010 go?
“The result was satisfactory and we enjoyed market successes through           “The insurance market in the Baltic states shrank for the second
acquiring several major new clients while very few left us. However,           year running. The bitter winter weather at the beginning and end
we and in fact the entire insurance industry were troubled by the              of the year, along with a stormy summer, led to a marked increase
repercussions from the financial crisis. Business activity among com-          in the number of insurance claims. Price competition was tough,
panies is still at a lower level than before the recession, and this has       especially regarding motor vehicle insurance. Despite these de-
a negative effect on premium volumes. We have also been hit by a               manding circumstances, If’s result was extremely good, and for the
few really big claims, even though the actual number of large claims           first time in many years we increased our market share in Estonia.
                       was fewer than during a normal year.”                                           Company operations in Russia developed
                                                                                                   satisfactorily; the business grew and turned a
                     What are the most significant trends?                                         good profit. Competition regarding private
                     “More and more companies are stepping up their                                car insurance was brutal, with extremely low
                     business interruption cover. Some also take out                               premiums.”
                     business interruption insurance to cover losses oc-
                     curring at their sub suppliers. The primary reason                             What are the most significant trends?
                     being that losses incurred from business inter-                                “The Baltic insurance markets will stabilize
Morten Thorsrud,     ruption occurring at sub suppliers has increased          Timo Vuorinen,       during the coming year. The underlying trend
Business Area        substantially as a result of more just-in-time pro-       Business Area Baltic in the national economies is positive, especially
Industrial.                                                                    and Russia.
                     duction and greater dependency on sub suppliers.                               in Estonia, but this is not expected to lead to
   Solvency II – the work on establishing a common rule book for               growth in the insurance market before 2012.
the European insurance industry – is approaching the finishing line               The companies and motor insurance markets are both growing
and the final decisions will be made during 2011. The majority of              in Russia, but the soft motor vehicle insurance market conditions
the content is already known.”                                                 will probably continue throughout the year.”

What will you invest in, in 2011?                                              What will you invest in, in 2011?
“We feel that the health insurance market – which has been a bit               “We will focus on creating common processes for all of the Baltic
dormant during the financial crisis – will spring back to life again           states, and increasing the efficiency of the distribution units. The
in the next few years. There is an awareness of the advantage of this          internet sales and service concept is also an area for investment.
kind of insurance among the general public, and companies not only                In Russia If will develop sales and claims handling in the
have a need for their personnel to stay healthy but must also attract          Commercial business area in the St Petersburg area and Moscow.”
skilled employees by offering good benefits packages in which health
insurance is well on the way to becoming an integral part” .

Gross premiums                                                                 Gross premiums
written by               Denmark 12%                                           written by                  Russia 11%
country                                                                        country

                                                             Sweden 44%
                    Finland 22%                                                                     Lithuania                           Estonia 49%
                                                                                                         23%


                        Norway 22%                                                                     Latvia 17%




                                                                                                                                     If’s Annual Report, 2010
34



                  Five-year Summary



                  Results Summary
                  SEK million                                                                 2010      2009      2008      2007      2006
                   Premiums earned, net of reinsurance                                       37,170    38,701    36,635    35,128    34,837
                   Claims incurred, net of reinsurance                                      –28,093   –28,856   –27,269   –25,795   –25,252
                   Operating expenses in insurance operations, net of reinsurance            –6,402    –6,801    –6,372    –6,045    –6,063
                   Allocated investment return transferred from the non-technical account     1,606     2,139     2,242     1,894     1,602
                   Other technical income                                                      235       240       249       272       210
                   Other operating expenses                                                   –232      –239      –212      –228      –210
                   Technical result                                                          4,284     5,184     5,273     5,226     5,124


                   Investment income and other items                                          2,516     1,717       64      –217      1,702
                   Profit/loss before income tax                                             6,800     6,901     5,337     5,009     6,826


                   Taxes                                                                     –1,815    –1,700    –1,451    –1,321    –1,955
                   Profit/loss for the year                                                  4,985     5,201     3,886     3,688     4,871




If’s Annual Report, 2010
                                                                                                                                                                       35




Balance sheet at year end
SEK million                                                                                  2010                2009                  2008      2007        2006
     Assets
     Intangible assets                                                                       1,259               1,358                 1,335     1,138       1,228
     Investment assets                                                                    102,078             106,832                 98,036    94,307      89,796
     Reinsurer’s share of technical provisions                                               4,575               4,892                 4,686     4,573       4,711
     Deferred tax asset                                                                        392                 666                 1,497      721         947
     Requirements                                                                            9,367               9,869                 9,750     9,069       8,087
     Other assets, prepayments and accrued income                                            4,818               4,912                 4,935     4,297       6,982
     Total assets                                                                        122,489             128,529             120,239       114,105    111,751


     Shareholder’s equity, provisions and liabilities
     Equity/assets                                                                          22,818             22,542                 17,140    18,504      19,304
     Subordinated debt                                                                       3,714               4,240                 4,489     3,893       3,721
     Deferred tax liability                                                                  4,103               4,054                 4,011     3,640       3,603
     Technical provisions                                                                   83,733             87,993                 85,749    80,506      74,554
     Liabilities                                                                             5,264               6,663                 6,109     4,655       7,705
     Provisions, accruals and deferred income                                                2,857               3,037                 2,741     2,907       2,864
     Total shareholder’s equity, provisions and liabilities                              122,489             128,529             120,239       114,105    111,751


     Solvency capital                                                                      30,243              30,171             24,143        25,316     25,681


     Key data, property and casualty operations
     Claims ratio                                                                           75.6%               74.6%                 74.4%     73.4%       72.5%
     Expense ratio                                                                          17.2%               17.6%                 17.4%     17.2%       17.4%
     Combined ratio                                                                         92.8%               92.1%                 91.8%     90.6%       89.9%
     Cost ratio                                                                             23.7%               24.1%                 23.7%     23.7%       24.0%


     Key data, asset management
     Total return ratio 1)                                                                    7.4%              12.4%                 –3.1%      2.6%        4.3%


     Other key data
     Regulatory capital                                                                     26,504             24,886                 21,890    23,426      25,400
     Solvency margin                                                                         6,592               6,504                 6,199     6,094       5,868
     Solvency ratio                                                                         79.5%               77.3%                 65.7%     71.3%       73.6%
 Calculations were made according to If’s internal principles for the evaluation of capital management.
1)




                                           Publisher: Försäkringsbolaget If. Production: Tidningskompaniet AB, Stockholm.
                                     Print: Trydells tryckeri, Laholm. Printed on eco-friendly paper. Cover picture: Jonas Englund.
                                                                                                                                                    If’s Annual Report, 2010
ContaCt
Sweden: tel. +46 771 430 000, www.if.se
norway: tel. +47 980 02400, www.if.no
Denmark: tel. +457 701 21212, www.if.dk
Finland: tel +358 010 19 15 15, www.if.fi

								
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