- EU regulations are establishing a new way of working. My job is making sure this is embraced as an opportunity and not a risk.


Hanna Ahlström describes herself as an “EU nerd” who’s moved from working in the European Commission’s Environmental department to now becoming ÆRA's ESG Regulatory Expert, proving its value beyond compliance.

In 2016, the EU launched their initiative to deliver an action plan for sustainable finance. For many, this event was a positive turning point in the political discourse around a sustainable transition. Eyes were on Brussels.

In the middle of this momentum, Hanna was lucky to work as a blue book trainee in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment – an entity appointed to consult EU’s new action plan. Seven years later, Hanna lives in Oslo, and she’s ready to take on the role of ESG Regulation Expert & Senior Advisor at ÆRA. She has an impressive resumé within sustainable finance and law. It includes:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in environmental economics
  • A Master's degree in social-ecological resilience for sustainable development
  • A PhD whose thesis promoted social-ecological systems thinking in legal research by analyzing the extent to which EU business and financial market law contributes to sustainability

Hanna’s resumé also tells the tale of incredible timing:

- It was mindboggling, really. I’d come to Brussels after finishing my master’s degree in Sustainability Science in Stockholm, to contribute to the EU Commissions Green Finance & Economic Analysis unit. The whole point of my work was to acquire knowledge and practical experience with EU policies, rules and procedures. And while I’m in Brussels, the EU initiates an action plan for sustainable finance, appointing a high-level expert group from the very place I’d been working at, Hanna relives.

Timing or not, Hanna’s extensive experience is undoubtedly due to her dedication and ability to develop at the same pace as the field of EU laws and regulations.

- I feel very confident in my sustainability competence, she says.

Value creating ESG

As an ESG Regulation Expert, Hanna will help our clients unlock ESG investments as value creation beyond legal compliance. Her latest adventure prior to ÆRA helped her deep dive into the latter, as a manager within Tax & Law in EY Norway.

- We are excited to welcome Hanna to our team. With Hanna’s exceptional level of EU regulatory experience from both Brussels and EY Norway, we will definitely elevate our team’s ability to deliver future-proof innovation with our clients even further, says Therese Zarrabi, Managing Director of Æra. 

- Sustainability is no longer voluntary. EU regulations are establishing a new way of working. My job is making sure this is embraced as an opportunity and not a risk, much along the lines of how ÆRA has approached innovation and sustainability overall, Hanna adds.

Change and impact

It’s hard to decide whether Hanna’s road from the EU Commission in Brussels to ÆRA in Torggata, Oslo, feels long or short when you talk to her – in a good way. There are no telltales of bureaucracy or a history with big establishments in the way she speaks of her wish to create real impact. Hanna is a changemaker wherever she goes. Yet, of course, her knowledge speak volumes of her thus far career.

- Ultimately, I’m an EU nerd who wants to work with change and impact. That’s what drew me to ÆRA: Hands on work with change and impact, and with truly inspiring and cutting-edge approaches to innovation and sustainability. That's also what I'm looking forward to delivering through my ESG regulation expertise, and through collaboration with a heavy focus on team spirit, Hanna ends.


Hanna Ahlström

Senior Advisor & ESG Regulatory Expert

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