How to Make Sustainability Addictive with Niclas Persson, CEO of Deedster

Having a strong purpose makes building company culture easier.

This is one of the main takeaways from my latest conversation with Niclas Persson, CEO and Co-Founder of Deedster – a company that aims to accelerate carbon emissions reductions through gamification.

Niclas – after a decade serving as a captain and jet fighter pilot in the Swedish Air Force and frustrated by the world’s glacial response to the climate crisis – knew he needed to do something to protect the planet.

Frustrated by the slow, uninspiring tactics of most companies, Niclas knew climate action had to “make sustainability fun or even addictive” for people to participate at scale. Climate action had to tap people’s intrinsic motivations through positive emotional experiences.

In his journey, Niclas found that leading with purpose is a strong competitive advantage.

Talent recruitment and culture-building have become easier due to leading with purpose. “We assess candidates as much on their values and conviction around sustainability as domain competencies,” Niclas explains. “That alignment means I can then step back and empower teams to build solutions together.”

When asked about balancing bold risk-taking with uncertainty, Niclas reflects on key lessons from his military days. “Careful analysis to ‘know your battlefield’ enables risk mitigation. But ultimately, leaders must act with conviction despite unknowns.” For startup founders that means moving swiftly as market awareness and appetite catch up over longer timeframes.

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