In 2022, 60% of Swedish companies reported that demands on sustainability from customers have increased, (according to the Swedish Export Credit Corporation), and research shows that focusing on sustainability strengthens employer brands. Many companies approach sustainability not primarily as a means to meet environmental requirements or minimising costs for emissions, but have realised it is a prerequisite to sell products and services in the future, and have therefore implemented sustainability targets as a central part of long-term business objectives.
Several Swedish companies are at the forefront in terms of corporate sustainability and Swedish products and services are internationally sought after. However, Swedish politics is lagging behind, as claimed by the WWF and ten large companies including Scania, Polestar, Volvo, Skanska, and AstraZeneca, in April 2023 in the financial newspaper Dagens Industri. The companies refer to the multibillion SEK investments made in order to be at the forefront of the global green market, which are at risk of being lost to global competition if politics does not keep up.
This article highlights sustainability progress made by some of the leading and most globally recognisable Swedish companies from different sectors - as reported by the companies themselves.
Furniture conglomerate Ikea is committed to SBTi near-term targets in line with 1.5°C trajectory by 2030. The company commits to a reduction of absolute GHG emissions across the value chain (scope 1, 2 & 3) by at least 15% by FY2030, from a FY2016 base year. Further, the company has set a net zero target by 2050 and has excluded carbon offsetting from the strategy in reaching reduction targets.
The company’s internal sustainability strategy – People & Planet Positive – was launched in 2012 in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ambition is to be a circular business, and the strategy serves as a long-term agenda for the entire value chain and franchise system.
99.5% of wood used for Ikea products is either Forest Stewardship Council®-certified or recycled. Since FY2021, 100% of electricity consumed in factories, packaging and distribution units operated by Ikea worldwide is supplied from renewable sources. 56% of purchased material in 2021 was from renewable sources, and 17% was recycled.
Klarna, a fintech company providing online financial services, is determined to reach 100% renewable electricity consumption by 2025, and to reduce GHG emissions by 50% by 2030 (baseline year unknown). The ambition will be achieved through a reduction of data storage emissions, a cut in number of business trips, and by facilitating emission reductions among suppliers. The company is further committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2040 through the Climate Pledge and Race to Zero, and is a member of Leader for Climate Action.
In 2021, Klarna committed to investing 1% of all future funding rounds in planet health initiatives and launched the Give One Initiative, which encourages shoppers to donate to charitable organisations working for planet health globally. The initiative further provides a CO2 tracker, enabling shoppers to see the climate impact of the shopping they do.
Construction and development company Skanska is committed to an SBTi near-term pathway aligning with the 1.5°C target by 2030 and commits to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 70% by 2030 from a 2015 base year. Skanska also commits to reduce absolute scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased goods and services, fuel and energy related activities, waste generated in operations, business travel, and use of sold products by 50% by 2030 from a 2020 base year.
Going forward, Skanska commits to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 100% by 2045 from a 2015 base year, and scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased goods and services, fuel and energy related activities, waste generated in operations, business travel, and use of sold products by 90% by 2045 from a 2020 base year.
Skanska’s largest emitting sources in the construction phase are concrete, cement, steel, bitumen for asphalt, and fossil fuels, and focus lies on finding substitutes for these. The company already offers green concrete and green asphalt, with significantly lower negative climate impacts than standard products. Other ambitions include climate adaptation, i.e. constructing buildings and roads to be resilient to climate change; Skanska ReSources, enabling large-scale recycling of materials; and a focus on UN’s SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities.
Audio streaming and media services provider Spotify have committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2030 and current actions in order to achieve the target include increasing energy efficiency in offices, supporting internal climate communities and updating climate tracking and risk assessment processes. In addition, Spotify aims to raise awareness among listeners and creators through curated content related to the climate crisis and sustainability, both by creating content internally and by promoting others’ work.
Car manufacturer Volvo (Volvo Group, Volvo Car Group) is Sweden’s largest company in terms of revenue. The company is committed to SBTi targets by 2030 compared to baseline year 2019, in line with 1.5°C target by 2030 for Volvo Group, and a 1.5°C/well below 2°C trajectory for Volvo Car Group.
Volvo Group has made a net zero SBTi commitment, including commitments of a 50% reduction of scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions, and a 30-40% reduction target of scope 3 emissions. Volvo Car Group’s SBTi commitment entails a 60% reduction of scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions, and a 52% reduction per vehicle kilometre of scope 3 GHG emissions from use of sold products.
Additionally, Volvo is a signatory to the UN's Global Compact, a partner in the WWF Fund for Nature's Climate Savers program and a supporter of the UN's Agenda 2030. The company has launched the Green Finance Framework in order to facilitate green bond and sustainability financing and accelerate the transition to fossil-free solutions. The framework has been classified as Dark Green by CICERO Shades of Green – their highest level.
Presently, 80% of Volvo’s global facilities are powered by renewable energy, and all European facilities have been powered by 100% hydropower since 2008. Cars are designed to minimise waste and increase use of recycled and bio-based materials. Further, Volvo is the first car manufacturer to use blockchain technology throughout the cobalt supply chain, allowing the company to monitor and trace the cobalt used in car batteries.
How NUS Can Help
Businesses committing to a net-zero journey will have to address scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, but creating a detailed and comprehensive carbon footprint can be a difficult task for many organisations to pursue alone.
NUS is currently working with numerous businesses worldwide to produce industry-specific decarbonisation roadmaps aligned with leading international standards.
NUS' sustainability division helps businesses to better understand scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, and provides guidance in collecting all required data and information from within companies to complete company-wide carbon footprints.
Contact us online or find your local NUS office for more information.
More: Energy Market Commentary, Greenhouse Gas (GHG), Net-Zero, Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), Sustainability
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