Sweden has become a global model for good governance and defender of human rights and equality for its citizens. In business, the Scandinavian country has also moved towards sustainability as companies reinvent their business models and invest in innovation.
In harmony with those efforts, the country’s educational institutions have devoted much research in how to better utilize the world’s natural resources and existing technology to improve the quality of life for everyone.
Arguably one of the world’s leading medical universities, Karolinska Institutet, is known for being pioneers in biomedical fields, such as cell therapy, new vaccines, inflammatory diseases and integrative medicine.
“There is no other place like Stockholm. Here, you can witness such strong societal changes and see people embrace new challenges,” said Deputy Vice Chancellor for Innovation professor Alexander Von Gabain.
Meanwhile, the Swedish Forest Industries Federation, which comprises Swedish Wood and the Secretariat for BioInnovation, is the lead organization for the country’s pulp, paper and woodworking industries.
The group brings together about 50 pulp and paper manufacturers, 120 wood mechanical companies, as as well as about 40 companies with close ties to pulp and paper producers and sawn timber manufacturers.
The Swedish forest-based industry employs close to 70,000 people and is valued at US$ 14.6 billion.
“The vision is for Swedish industries to contribute to climate sustainability. We think the forest industry can be a contributor to sustainability,” said Swedish Forest Industries Federation Chief Economist Mats Kinnwall
“I think it’s necessary that our industry is part of the economy. In 20 years, more and more bodies will be part of climate change and we’ll be ready to be part of the solution,” he added.
Climate change is also at the top of the mind of the Swedish Petroleum and Biofuels Institute (SPBI).
“Climate problems are closely monitored in Sweden. The public is conscious of doing something about it. One of the challenges in the future will be to support the measures needed to produce more biofuels,” CEO Ulf Svahn.
SPBI is a trade association for fuel, bitumen and lubricants sectors in Sweden. Aside from promoting the interests of its members and disseminates information useful to the industry, the group also leads research on more effective ways to produce fuels and alternatives.
Svahn believes the government needs to focus more on renewables and convince the European Commission to enlarge the base for biofuels production open and push for sustainability instead of shutting it down completelyAnother Nordic leader in renewable solutions is Stora Enso, which specializes in wood and biomass. Since 1998, Stora Enso has transformed itself from a traditional paper and pulp company into a renewable materials producer.
“We’ve worked successfully with carbon emissions with a good value-system in place. I believe we have good experience in combating both the reduction of electricity and emissions,” said CEO Karl-Henrik Sundström.
Founded in 1992, the AtKisson Group, a global network of seasoned consultants, has offered advisory, training, reporting, and related services to companies and governments wanting to achive more sustainability.
As a testament to its success, the group has built an impressive list of clients, which include U.N. agencies, the governments of Egypt and the United States, as well as industry leaders, such as Nike, Volvo Levi-Strauss and EY, to name a few.
“You need to plan your work on sustainability – not just to become a neutral contributor to climate change. Everything you do must have a positive effect,” said President and CEO Alan AtKisson.