15 mins read

“Inner sustainability is a new global movement, a dimension in sustainable development.”

Awake is a communication agency with a twist – and of course a member at Epicenter. We had a talk with Creative Director, Founder and partner, Marte Alstad Hansen, to get to know these sustainability driven ladies a little better and hear from the source: What is it that makes Awake tick?


How and why was Awake founded? What problems or challenges did you see in the world that you wanted to solve? 

Awake is a communication agency with a twist. As two passionate female founders, we wanted to create a purpose-driven agency with a holistic approach to sustainability. In Awake we work single-heartedly with communicating sustainable development and integrating inner sustainability for our clients.


Before we started up in 2019, we saw an increased focus on sustainability in the business market. New laws and regulations dictated stricter guidelines for reporting impact, new job titles like Sustainability Manager were popping up, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals were implemented in more and more companies. At the same time, many businesses were struggling to communicate their initiatives in a way that rang true, and many found it hard to follow through with their sustainability strategy. This is where we saw our opportunity to fill a niche.


What’s the biggest impact you have seen on both your customers and the industry you work in?

We love to see our clients thrive! To help them get an overview of their initiatives and improvement areas, talk openly about their challenges, create engaging concepts and to make sure they don’t greenwash along the way. When we see our clients speed up their sustainability initiatives and reach their goals sooner than expected, we know we’ve succeeded. Multiple companies have also mentioned that our method improved the company’s culture, and that they’ve finally been able to implement their sustainability strategy at all levels in the organization. Creating a joint focus and a clear direction, so they can move forward with full speed.


What challenges have you faced along the way, and what have you learned from them?

We knew when we started that being one of the first communication agencies in Norway specialized in sustainable development wasn’t going to be easy. Introducing new ideas often comes with a fair bit of skepticism and doubt, but we’ve hung in there.


It doesn’t help that communicating sustainable development is a complex process. We’ve learned that companies often intend to do good, but at the same time they’re scared of being put on the spot. They’re worried people might ignore the positives and instead put a spotlight on the negative. Part of our job is to put these fears to rest and to help them speak openly about their challenges.


We’re starting to see companies express an interest in integrating inner sustainability, but it’s still a new term for most. It’s been challenging to get them on board and convince them of the massive benefits inner sustainability can have for their organization. Inner sustainability is a new global movement, a dimension in sustainable development. It is all about optimizing human resources to ensure that we have enough energy to take care of our planet and others. Inner sustainability has been put on the global agenda after the launch of Inner Development Goals (IDGs) last year.


How does Awake work with innovation?

Innovation happens when we get to the core of a client’s purpose and their emotional connection to sustainability, Their “Why?”. That’s when we can create engaging ideas that reflect their true values. By listening to our clients needs we find new solutions that push the limits for what is possible. We believe that the future is bright, as long as you can imagine it. A lot of innovation happens when you connect to your inner world and subconscious. 


Do you have any exciting projects coming up, or past success stories you would like to share? 

We are currently working with a client in the tourism industry called Norway’s best. They are going through our method “Communication tool for sustainability”. We are excited to see the results of that process.


This month we are also launching our inner sustainability program for companies. A 10 session program where you and your team get to integrate inner sustainability over time. 


We are always open to broaden our network of collaborative partners and clients. Don’t hesitate to contact us. Let’s have a coffee and get to know each other.


Why did Awake choose Epicenter?

Awake is now stepping into a new phase. We want to scale up and bring in more people to build our business. Epicenter is the perfect environment for growing, because we get to be part of a big international network of innovative companies. The warm and including staff, business advisory services inhouse, meetings between the leaders of all the companies, great lunch and don’t let us forget the gym room with group sessions. Epicenter just ticked all our boxes!


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