There are a lot of things to love about Sweden, to begin there is great fashion, great food, and great traditions (like Midsummer). It is a beautiful country with beautiful people.
On top of all of this, what truly has me excited about Sweden is its commitment to Sustainability and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). I was already aware of Sweden as a leading example because of this article from Treehugger.com, which shares insight on a word the Swedish choose to live by.
“Lagom” which means, just enough is more than a word or saying it is a belief among Swede’s. This belief goes beyond its people and spreads to the government and corporations and it did not take long to learn that Sweden actually leads the world in CSR. I found several interesting articles (here, here, and here) that detail Sweden’s commitment but here are a few highlights:
- Since 1979, Sweden has carried on a continuous dialogue with the social partners concerning corporate social responsibility (CSR), as a part of its work related to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
- State-owned companies’ sustainability reports adhere to global standards set by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) (Info on the GRI)
- Sweden was the first country to demand sustainability reports from state-owned companies’
- Statistics from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Nutek) showed Sweden to be the world leader in terms of the number of environmentally certiﬁed companies per million inhabitants in December 2006/January 2007
What I find inspiring about the Swedish culture is that they have found a way to balance the “fabulous” things in life like fashion, frivolity and furniture with a commitment to sustainability. Often times, people view living green as making a sacrifice but the Swedish give us another way to look it. It is interesting, that the people and the various brands that come from Sweden like H&M and IKEA don’t tout their sustainable business practices as much as they could.
There is great opportunity for Sweden to engage in a conversation on a global scale that would position them as a pioneering force for influencing sustainable and ethical business around the world.
I think the Swedish are a great example of the term “Global Citizen” because they actively do their part and do not view it as a burden – it’s just a way of life. As the world continues to globalize and our degrees of separation become less and less we can all learn from the best practices the Swedish have in place. They can and should become a model for other countries to learn how easy it is to adapt to a greener, leaner lifestyle. ^JT