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Morten Albæk

Morten Albæk

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Trendsetters: Vestas Wind Systems' Morten Albæk Champions "A Race We Must Win"
Morten Albæk is the charismatic CMO of the world's largest renewable energy company.  Not only is he responsible for leading the transformation of wind turbine manufacturing company Vestas Wind Systems from a product-oriented company to a global brand, but he is devoted to new ways of thinking about the value and purpose of marketing. 
He also acknowledges that if wind power is to play a significant role in the world's future energy mix, it will not gain acceptance through traditional business and political channels, but through the power and extraordinary resources of contemporary marketing.  Morten Albæk's recent initiative, Wind of Prosperity, is not only a sweeping gesture; it has the capability of rewriting the very essence of purposeful marketing. 
Wind for Prosperity is a global initiative based on an innovative commercial business model to provide electricity to the world's remote communities and ensure long-term, sustainable economic development. The project's initial goal is to deploy wind energy that provides electricity for 100 communities or roughly one million people within the next three years.  Vestas' larger mission, though, is to end energy poverty with the potential to deliver affordable electricity to approximately 100 million people in remote, high-wind areas worldwide, while providing a risk-adjusted return to investors. 
This thinking has also led him to create the campaign A Race We Must Win.  Vestas has just become a partner of the Volvo Ocean Race, the world's premier offshore competition that tests both sailing prowess and human exertion--now in its 37th year.  Of course, sailing's dependence on wind power presents a natural affiliation for a wind turbine company; however, that's not enough of a tie-in for someone like Morten Albæk.  So, he's turning the Vestas endeavor into A Race We Must Win, which he describes as "probably the biggest business-to-business enlightenment campaign" ever undertaken. 
A Race We Must Win highlights three critical challenges facing mankind:

  1. The race against climate change where carbon reduction is needed to avoid an increase of global temperature by more than two degrees--a critical threshold.
  2. The race against energy poverty where 1.3 billion today live without clean, reliable energy.
  3. The race against water scarcity as 1.2 billion people now live without access to fresh water.  It is projected that more than 40% of the global population will live in areas of severe water stress in 2050.

The campaign A Race We Must Wind was launched earlier this month in Alicante, Spain, where the Volvo Ocean Race kicked off, and will continue throughout the race. "We need to tell the world that humanity is in A Race We Must Win, and that it can be won only with the help of wind technology. Ninety-nine percent of the world's wind power is not harvested and if we were to increase the level of electricity generated by untapped wind resource, we could combat climate change, water scarcity and energy poverty. We are not just talking about the problems, but about the solutions. By the end of the Volvo Ocean Race, millions will have been made aware of the wind's essential role to fight global challenges" says Albæk.  
He also confirms that Vestas' campaign will not end when the Volvo Ocean Race finishes in Gothenburg, Sweden in June 2015, but will feed in to the campaign to get concrete solutions to stop climate change at the United Nations Climate Change Conference or Paris COP meeting later that year. "Our race won't end with the Volvo Ocean Race, it will continue to Paris and beyond."
As part of the Volvo Ocean race activities, in addition to the campaign A Race We Must Win, Vestas will engage with more than 1,000 decision makers among their key customers in world markets. Albaek points out that the 10 countries the race will visit all represent "a significant part of our business for the next few years," and include South Africa, China, Brazil and the US.
Morten Albæk is a member of THE INTERNATIONALIST 1000 initiative- 1000 Marketers Around the World Reshaping the Future of Marketing in global partnership with the ANA/Association of National Advertisers. He is also a chapter contributor in the upcoming book, The Reinvention of Marketing, to debut this fall, published by The Internationalist Press with the ANA.