Dr. Naoko Tojo from the International Institute of Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE), Sweden
MESPOM is jointly operated by a consortium of 4 European and 2 North American Universities, each location presents its own unique set of learning opportunities.
This week we caught up with Dr. Naoko Tojo from the International Institute of Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE), Sweden to give a small snapshot of the study program at Lund University.
What is the main research area you focus on?
I primarily focus on product-oriented environmental law and policy. It involves exploring how we can change the behavior of industry in relation to the products they are making, or the services they are providing, so that they become less environmentally burdensome from the policy perspective. I look at what kind of government measures can be introduced and implemented, how they can be designed, and whether they are really providing the intended effects. Some examples of the policies we study are Extended Producer Responsibility and the Top-Runner Program. I teach MESPOM a course called Policies for Sustainable Business and Products.
How long have you been teaching MESPOM for and how has your experience interacting with the different batches been so far?
I've been teaching MESPOM since the very first batch in 2005, and took up the task of being a study coordinator for the MESPOM program in Lund since 2010 (Batch 5). So I have been interacting with the students not only in the courses, but also as the coordinator, and it has been a very rewarding experience. Each batch tends to have its own identity with a dynamic group of people, and the program has been diverse over the years by attracting students from Asia, Latin America and Africa. Of course, we are doing research and hopefully that has some positive impact on the world, but I think, at the end of the day, it is the students that are our best “product”.
What are some of the things/skills that you hope that students would leave with after studying at IIIEE in Lund?
While it is very important to have theoretical understanding, I would hope that they leave with some down-to-earth skills to implement change, together with some feeling of confidence to do it. We have courses related to policy, industry, business and research, but we try to make sure to give students solution-oriented thinking and practical skills and tools to tackle actual problems.
Do you perhaps have any reflections about the social culture at IIIEE?
We are a rather small unit within Lund University, and we all study and research in the same building. So we have really tried to maintain a sort of IIIEE family feeling within the community from the beginning. I think it is partly also to do with the Swedish management culture that is quite flat, and not hierarchical. One of the main things we often try to communicate to the students is that the day they graduate, they are our colleagues and are no longer students.