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Audun Wickstrand Iversen

Audun Wickstrand Iversen is a Portfolio Manager for DNB Fund Disruptive Opportunities.

After five years as a Financial Analyst in DNB Markets, Audun joined us in 2001 as Portfolio Manager for several top-rated mutual funds. In 2007 he left the company to pursue other initiatives; started several companies and sat as a board member, chairman, and CEO in listed and unlisted companies at Oslo Stock Exchange. After rejoining us as Portfolio Manager in 2019 he is now focusing on Blue Investments and Disruptive Opportunities across global sectors.

Audun holds a MSc in Economics and Business Administration (Siviløkonom) from the Norwegian School of Business NHH. He also holds a two-year Higher Level-degree in Strategy from Norwegian School of Business NHH and a Bachelors degree from the University of Oslo.


However, it is not easy to identify those technologies and services that will replace the old and change our lives completely. Disruption is by no means limited to the tech sector. We present three examples that illustrate this.

The revolution of seawater desalination

Have you ever heard of Energy Recovery? Headquartered in sun-drenched San Francisco Bay, the company is a global leader in energy recovery. It is considered a hub for technical innovation. It focuses on designing and manufacturing solutions that reduce waste, improve operational efficiency and lower production costs for clean water as well as oil and gas. What began as a breakthrough invention for water desalination has evolved into a global business. Energy Recovery's water desalination processes save customers $2 billion in energy costs year after year. The patented "VorTeq" technology for the oil and gas industry, currently in development, is expected to deliver significant savings by protecting pumps from erosion and reducing equipment failures that often occur during well completion.

Energy Recovery takes disruption literally. "Our PX Pressure Exchanger is a breakthrough process that has revolutionized reverse osmosis seawater desalination and reduced energy costs by up to 60%. It is now the most widely used reverse osmosis energy recovery solution, with installations in desalination plants on all seven continents," the company said. Through their water supply solutions, the Californians are helping to eliminate the global shortage of this precious commodity, while avoiding more than 12.4 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. This is the equivalent of taking more than 2.5 million cars off the road.

In line with Energy Recovery's strategy, the company has been committed to providing efficient and sustainable products to its customers since its inception. To underscore its commitment to responsible corporate governance and transparency, the company published its first ESG report last year.

Using the power of the sun

The second company that has what it takes to turn our world around is active in the field of solar technology and - how could it be any different when it comes to sun - is also based in California. With 550,000 customers, Sunrun is one of the leading providers of residential solar, storage and energy services in the United States. Total solar capacity provided reached 3,885 megawatts at the end of December 2020, with new systems being installed every two minutes. Founded in 2007, the company's vision is nothing less than the creation of a planet powered by the sun.

"We're already significantly CO2-negative. We want to help our customers and partners become so as well," emphasizes co-founder and CEO Lynn Jurich, "Our solar systems have saved greenhouse gas emissions totaling the equivalent of 5.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide." To produce such emissions, an average motor vehicle would have to travel 13 billion miles - the equivalent of 325,000 circumnavigations of the earth.

Sustainability isn't just about energy at Sunrun, though. The Sunshine State company committed to installing at least 100 megawatts of solar over the next decade on affordable multifamily housing where four out of five tenants earn less than 60% of the average income. This will directly benefit 50,000 families.

Investors who added the solar technology company's stock to their portfolios three years ago have every reason to rejoice today. While one share cost just under 5.50 euros at the end of February 2018, it is currently trading at 67.50 euros.

Ready-to-use cable solutions for the ever-growing demand for energy

The fact that cables also hold a potential for disruption is demonstrated particularly impressively by NKT. Since 1891, the Danes have been offering their customers everything they need for their cable projects. Power cable solutions and accessories are essential components of the infrastructure that makes the energy transition possible. As our society's need for electricity grows, NKT plays a key role in providing future generations with clean and renewable energy.

"We connect a greener world" is the overarching goal of the company, which is represented in 14 countries and employs around 3,400 people. Last December, the Brøndby-based corporation became the first major cable manufacturer to join the Science Based Target initiative, following science-based targets for greenhouse gas reduction. In the eyes of NKT's management team, this is a natural next step on the road to sustainability. Back in early 2020, the company announced that it would power all of its cable plants with electricity generated from renewable sources. This reduced CO2 emissions from annual energy consumption by 66%, or 48,000 tons, compared to 2019.

In addition, NKT recycles material such as XLPE and metals from cable production, thus reducing emissions from classic waste management. Since fall, the company has been one of the four main partners in the "SuperLink" development project initiated by the Stadtwerke München, which will comprise the longest superconducting cable line when completed. NKT's business is humming: in the third quarter of 2020, they reported a doubling of operating profit compared to the same period last year.

Source: DNB Asset Management

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