Helén Williams, associate professor in Environmental and energy systems and researcher at Service Research Center, Karlstad University, Sweden.
For the past 15 years , Helén, alongside her colleague, has pioneered a novel research area in the field of Packaging for Sustainable Development. Recognizing the urgent need for a transformative approach to reduce food waste for ecological, social, and economic reasons, she emphasizes the crucial role of packaging in this paradigm shift. Packaging plays a central role in driving this transformative process, and adopting a service perspective enables us to shift our focus from merely considering packaging as a material to be recycled to understanding its active functions—such as protection, facilitation of handling, and communication. Central to her research is the understanding of consumer behavior and designing strategies to make waste reduction more accessible for consumers.
Enhancing the functionality of packaging can potentially increase its environmental impact. Consequently, it becomes vital to calculate the environmental trade-off between the higher impact of packaging and the positive impact achieved by reducing environmental impact from reducing food waste. Her insights into consumer behavior and these environmental trade-offs have been extensively documented in numerous research articles. These publications not only contribute to the academic discourse but also provide valuable knowledge for industry professionals, policymakers, and stakeholders engaged in the search for more sustainable packaging solutions.
Beyond her research endeavors, Helén has been actively involved in teaching and developing numerous courses at both introductory and Master's levels in various engineering programs. Her subjects range from introductory environmental issues and life cycle analysis to system analysis and mainly sustainable development.
Recognizing the importance of collaboration with non-academic sectors, Helén advocates for partnerships to advance sustainable development goals and gain valuable insights into pertinent research topics. As a sought-after speaker, she frequently shares her expertise and insights in governmental organizations, companies, and business and research conferences, aiming to inspire and educate diverse audiences.
I have been teaching and developing a vast number of courses at various college and engineering programs, introductory as well as at Master level. Subjects include introductory environmental issues, life cycle analysis, system analysis, and sustainable development. I have been supervisor for bachelor and master thesis.
I think it is very important to co-operate with the non-academic society to promote a sustainable development, but also to learn about relevant research topics.
I am a frequently invited speaker, to inspire and educate in governmental organisations, in companies, and in business and research conferences.