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Swedish companies in unique initiative for sustainable global development

Updated: 19 June 2014

20 Swedish companies have today, as the first national business group in the world, adopted four core principles on how they jointly contribute to sustainable development and poverty reduction in the global work done with new development after 2015. Sustainability must permeate operations and business models. The companies also stress the importance of creating more and better jobs, systematically reducing environmental impact, and to fight corruption and unethical business practices. CEOs of some of the leading companies endorsed the principles at a round table meeting at Sida in Stockholm today.

- I am convinced that when the Swedish business sector work together in an active role, they can set an example and lead the way globally to reduce poverty and ensure sustainable development, says Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Director General of Sida.

With less than a thousand days left of the UN Millennium Development Goals, we have seen great progress in recent decades with reduced poverty, more children in school and greater equality. Now efforts are underway to develop new global sustainable development goals by 2015. Industry involvement and experience are key prerequisites for delivering on the future of higher ambitions that increasingly requires partnerships between parties other than the traditional donors and recipients of aid.

- When the MDGs were determined industry participation was limited, but today it is completely different expectations of the private sector to help meet the challenges we are facing in the process of sustainable development. In connection with the preparation of the UN's new sustainable development goals is now an opportunity to recognize the role of business in contributing to a solution-oriented agenda. Today's meeting was a step forward for the use of the power held by the business community and bridges the gap between government policies and companies' role in sustainable development. UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, led by Jeffrey Sachs, is also an important part of that effort, said Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericsson.

The meeting on Sida occurs as a result of the fact that Sweden has an active role in global efforts under way with a new comprehensive development agenda and to gather stakeholders from many different sectors of society in the work. In addition to the business community also participate in civil society, researchers and young people in a dialogue on future issues.

- The Swedish economy is now taking the lead internationally in efforts to contribute to new and viable development. Swedish industry is at the forefront of work in areas such as environmental technology, innovation, openness and global responsibility, says Sida Director General Charlotte Petri Gornitzka.

The participating companies represent a wide spectrum of Swedish industry, including textiles, telecommunications, transport and health. Some have their own manufacturing in poor countries, others depend on low-and middle-income countries as markets to grow and invest.

Today's meeting resulted in a declaration that describes a number of areas where the Swedish business community in particular relevant experience and expertise in sustainability issues. The idea is that companies have an increasing role in contributing to global sustainable development and that they, alone or with the support of Swedish aid and global UN initiative, be able to turn these areas into concrete initiatives that improve people's lives and create sustainable growth.

CEOs of leading Swedish companies today have paid particular attention to four key areas in which the Swedish model of a Swedish entrepreneurship and leadership can influence and make a real difference.

  • Integrate sustainable development into business and business models.
  • Systematically reduce environmental impact and be more efficient when it comes to resource usage.
  • Create jobs with decent conditions and development opportunities, both for our own workforce and in the supply chain.
  • Fight corruption and unethical business practices in the countries in firms operate in.

Technical solutions and innovation are highlighted as key agents in the four different areas, including the development of sustainable and affordable products and services for the benefit of poor people.

Participating companies are Axel Johnson, Boliden, Elekta, Ericsson, Business Owners, GoodCause, H & M, IKEA, Indian, Investor, Postcode Lottery, Ratos, Scania, SPP, Swedfund, Systembolaget, Tetra Laval, 3W, Unilever and Volvo.

Please contact us for more information:
tel. +46-10-719 69 92

Sida: Klas Waldenström, Senior Advisor, General Secretariat, Sida, tel +46-8-698 54 59

Page owner: Communication Unit

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