13A – Climate: Managerial Courage to Tackle Environmental Issues
Face to face with Kaj Török
© Maxime Dufour Photographies
Founded in 1968, Max Burgers is the world’s first climate-positive fast food chain. For 14 years in a row Max has been chosen as the most popular burger chain in Sweden. The reason is quality and taste. In fact, in 1991 it was the first burger chain to outcompete the giant McDonald’s in its home country. Kaj Török is the CRO (Chief Reputation Officer) and CSO (Chief Sustainability Officer) of Max Burgers since 2016. He also presented himself as a caring father very concerned for his children’s future.
During his intervention, Kaj described the way his company managed to become climate-positive. The first important step is to look in detail into its production methods and measure its consumption. That will allow the company to firstly reduce its consumption and then later establish methods to give back more to nature than it has taken from it. This way, Max Burgers became a 110% climate-positive company and it only costed them 0.4% of its total turnover. After the inspiring keynote he gave us, Mr. Török took some time to answer several of my questions in an interview.
What motivated you to work in the fastfood and burger industry?
I was an advisor for Max Burgers for 10 years before entering the company. I truly supported their values and carried them. I felt like I could have a real impact on our world.
You proved that it is possible to be climate-positive, Max Burgers did it. Do you believe that today’s biggest companies can also successfully adopt this model?
I am absolutely convinced that all companies, including the most major ones can do it and they will do it sooner or later. The Paris Agreements are all about this and all businesses should feel concerned and take action now. We shouldn’t wait 2050 to act, important steps are to be taken as soon as possible.
Companies are the best structures to find and create solutions in our societies.
You have now been very big in Sweden for several decades. Is it in your plans to expand your burger chain model throughout the world?
Of course Max Burgers, as any company, must be ambitious. I would ideally want Max to be the world’s best burger chain. Not the biggest one, but the best one. Quality and innovation is what we want to build ourselves a name on.
Max Burgers is currently expanding in Denmark and Poland, and I hope to soon be able to say we opened a franchise in France!
Max Burgers achieved a fantastic goal by becoming climate-positive (110%), but will the company push its model even further and go beyond 110?
As a climate-positive business, it is tough to be fully satisfied and decide to stop. We aren’t finished trying to find and develop new ways to be climate-positive. Today Max contributes by planting trees but we might find better alternative ways tomorrow.
Even though our company runs on burgers (meat), there will be less meat consumption in the future for the profit of higher quality and more eco-friendly beef.
Our priority is now to try and introduce the taste of plants to our clients and try to show that veggie burgers can be as tasty and delicious as beef-based burgers. We want to contribute to the very needed transition in our eating habits.
If Max Burgers managed to do it, why couldn’t other companies do it as well?
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Speakers of this edition
Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of OVHcloud
President of Mission REV3 Hauts-de-France Regional Council
Mission REV3 Conseil Régional Hauts-de-France France
Young European Leadership France
NEP, Wéo France
Chief Executive Officer
Camif Matelsom France
Communication and Design Project Manager
Signes de sens France
World Forum for a Responsible Economy France
Tous les possibles France
Deputy Director General
Great Place To Work France
ADEME Nord Pas de Calais France
ATRE Insertion association Director
Animator-Coordinator Economy of functionality
Chairman of the Board
Impact & Social innovation Director
Author of the documentaries Work in Progress and the newsletter Billet du Futur
LAB Welcome France
Signes de sens France
Project leader of the Prospective rev3 2022-2032 group
Director of Innovation and Sustainable Development
Chairman of Réseau Alliances
Réseau Alliances, World Forum for a Responsible Economy France
Founder & CEO
Group Marketing, Innovation and New Mobility Director
Université Paris Est-Créteil – École d’urbanisme de Paris France
Founder and ceo
Journalist and trainer
Le Grand Ecart France
Director of Sthree France
Sthree France France
CSR and Sustainable Mobility Project Manager
Réseau Alliances France
Technical advisor for mobility and public spaces
Ville et Eurométropole de Strasbourg France
Chair of the Climate Change Department
Conseil mondial des entreprises pour le développement durable Royaume-Uni
Veolia Recyclage et Valorisation en Hauts-de-France France
Co-director and founder
Forum Vies Mobiles France
Project manager on mobility for the city of SENLIS
La ville de SENLIS France
Concertation/Negotiation Project Manager, Social Dialogue Department, HRD
Coach in personal and professional realization
Inclusion and Diversity Delegate
Réseau Alliances France
ORIGIN Rénovation Responsable France
Réseau Alliances France
Materials sourcing & impact strategy manager
Balzac Paris France
Head of Collaborative Economy & Emerging Practices
Co-founder of M la Constellation
M la Constellation France
Highlights of the program
Plenary session to celebrate the 10th anniversary of rev3, the Third Industrial Revolution in the Hauts-de-France region
Meetings and lunches to interact and network
Experiences, to debate, to get, to know each other, to acquire the tools to cooperate more effectively
Opportunities to get involved in the responsible economy
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