Last week Global Compact Network Sweden (GCNS) arranged a CEO roundtable together with Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director of UN Global Compact. The objective of the meeting was to invite leading Swedish CEOs to help shape the UN Global Compact’s strategy and priorities and to discuss how Swedish businesses can enhance their leadership role in the initiative, both locally and globally. The companies that attended were: Mannheimer Swartling, Electrolux, Cybercom, Skanska, Vattenfall, Holmen, SSAB and Volvo Group.
Our Executive Director Maria Collin opened and moderated the roundtable. Lise was first out to speak and expressed that she saw “this as an opportunity to accelerate progress towards the necessary tipping points on climate change and other sustainable development priorities, both in Sweden and around the world”. She pointed out that with current trajectory we will not reach the sustainable development goals. She urged that everyone must evaluate what we can do to accelerate our efforts in meeting the goals with soon only ten years to go until 2030.
Presentations and open discussion
The CEOs from Electrolux, Cybercom and Skanska shortly presented their sustainability efforts and vision for the future. The new Ambassador for Sustainable Business at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs presented his thoughts on how to work together with companies the coming years.
It was expressed that integrating sustainability into the entire business model is the way forward and a competitive edge that create new opportunities. Electrolux has for example launched their “For the better 2030” strategy, which includes supporting the million users of their products every day in eating more sustainable, changing their habits and their clothes to last longer. Cybercom focus on “makers of tomorrow” and “heart in the next generation”. Their view is that a key to deliver on the Paris Agreement is thinking of companies as solution providers, and as of such focusing on the “handprint” of the company with circular economy models, not only on the “footprint”. Skanska measure green revenue and are at 46% today and their target is to be climate neutral 2045. They are confident that they will reach this target but further development within procurement and energy is seen as crucial to meet their goal.
Most of the companies expressed frustration over that many of their projects for a sustainable future are stopped or delayed due to permits that take many years to receive or not updated policies standing in the way. They urged for the Swedish government to update and adjust legislations to support companies in developing sustainable, business models, products and services.
All companies agreed upon that their business is what it is and hence makes most sense to start from there when developing more sustainable models to meet the SDGs. They also suggested a climate focused cooperation across companies and industries.
Lise rounded up with that she would like the Swedish companies that are leading within sustainability in their fields to be more visible globally, to inspire and challenge other countries and companies. Clear actions for UN GC and GCNS was defined to take lead on and report back on during 2020.
GCNS are very pleased with the valuable discussions and takeaways from this CEO roundtable and look forward to more discussions soon.