Nordic CEOs Present Sustainability Principles and Commitments

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Stockholm (NordsIP) – The Nordic CEOs for a Sustainable Future, a group of some of the largest Nordic companies committed to integrating the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), presented their sustainability demands to the Nordic Council of Ministers on July 2nd.

Asides from their SDG commitments, Nordic CEOs for a Sustainable Future also provides a forum for the exchange of experiences between companies and a platform for the Nordic Prime Ministers to engage directly with CEOs on these issues. The initiative represents 14 companies with revenues of more than €115 billion and 170,000 employees worldwide.

An Open Letter for Sustainability

- Promotion -

The members of the initiative met virtually with Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland, and Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway. The centre-piece of the meeting was “A call for a sustainable future society” – an open letter of the CEOs to The Nordic Council of Ministers presenting their core principles and commitments to the politicians.

“The new challenges we today face caused by the COVID-19 crisis has only strengthened the Nordic CEOs for a Sustainable Future’s dedication to delivering results on our SDG visions. A set of core principles and commitments will from now on be our guiding stars. Within both climate and diversity and inclusion areas, we focus on stronger disclosure, target setting, and impacting our value chains,” said Jens Henriksson, President and CEO of Swedbank, and Chair of the Nordic CEOs for a Sustainable Future in 2020.

Climate Change

The discussion focused on how companies, individually and in cooperation with one another, are taking action on climate change and diversity. The participants also exchanged ideas on potential government policies for accelerating measures focusing on climate change and diversity. “On climate, we encourage them to stimulate the transition to a net-zero carbon society through implementing new incentives, policy, and lay ground for better reporting. On the issue of diversity and inclusion, we encourage them to facilitate specific government initiatives and incentives related to reporting, procurement, and equal pay. Hopefully, our joint efforts will lead to a series of 2020-21 initiatives that will drive tangible progress towards establishing an economy where people and our planet can thrive together,” said Henriksson.

Diversity and Inclusion

The President and CEO of Telenor Group and the CEO of Íslandsbanki presented the Nordic CEOs principles and commitments. “Our commitments are focused on zero discrimination and increased inclusion in the workplace. We ask the public sector to contribute to these commitments, for instance, by measuring and addressing equal pay gaps in public institutions and state-owned entities, and implement clear diversity and inclusion requirements to partners and suppliers,” said Telenor’s CEO.

The Path Ahead

The Norwegian Prime Minister acknowledged described COVID-19 as a paradigm shift. “Our task is to make sure that the crisis does not create a more divided world, but rather that it increases cooperation and openness; between nations and corporations, between the public and private sectors. Together, we must accelerate the development of the green technologies, and ensure equality, inclusion, and diversity in our labour markets,” she said.

The Prime Minister of Iceland concurred. “The fact that the economic crisis brought forward by the pandemic is turning into a humanitarian crisis underlines the massive importance of the SDGs,” Jakobsdóttir said. “We strongly believe that multilateral cooperation between key actors plays an essential role in achieving the targets. We can use the Nordic model to accelerate our joint efforts.”

The member CEOs and their respective companies are Eldar Sætre of Equinor, Mats Granryd of GSMA, Kristin Skogen Lund of Schibsted, Birna Einarsdóttir of Íslandsbanki, Árni Oddur Þórðarson of Marel, Tone Wille of Posten, Rickard Gustafson of SAS, Odd Arild Grefstad of Storebrand, Jens Henriksson of Swedbank, Sigve Brekke of Telenor Group, Allison Kirkby of Telia Company, Henrik Andersen of Vestas, Svein Tore Holsether of Yara and Topi Manner of Finnair.

Image Courtesy of Telenor

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In the current economic environment, even the strongest companies will face challenges from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps now more than ever, understanding the factors that could have a material impact on a company’s sustainability will play a role in investment decision-making.

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