Make all public procurement in the Nordic region fossil free or climate neutral in order to increase the market for smart solutions and reward companies that lead the transition. This is one of the proposals from five Nordic corporate networks to the ministers of climate and environment from the Nordic countries, as they will gather in Stockholm tomorrow due to the Swedish presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Nordic business community urges policy-makers to formulate ambitious climate policies, together with businesses and civil society. This way we can achieve a fossil-free society faster, promote global climate efforts and at the same time strengthen Nordic competitiveness.

 According to Nordic companies, the Nordic region can stimulate global climate efforts by show-casing good examples of climate solutions. Nordic companies were quick to identify climate measures as a competitive advantage and to understand that synergies between political leadership and innovation can increase competitiveness. Many companies today see that environmental regulation has been beneficial and see that it is time to scale up the efforts. These are some of the conclusions of a new report, based on interviews with CEOs, chairmen and other senior executives in some of the largest companies in the five Nordic countries. The report is called Nordic companies on climate transition, competitiveness and growth and is based on interviews with 38 Nordic companies. Together they represent more than half a million employees around the world and revenues corresponding to 17 percent of the Nordic countries’ GDP.

 More than 50 percent of the interviewed companies say they could set more ambitious targets than today if policies go in the right direction. Three out of four can reach zero net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and half of those say this can happen before 2050.Many Nordic companies also see climate investments as a necessity that will strengthen their position in the global market and secure long-term survival.

Tomorrow, the report will be handed over to the ministers of climate and environment of the Nordic countries by the business community, represented by the Haga Initiative, Norway 203040, Fossil Free Sweden, Icelandic New Energy and Finnish Climate Leadership Coalition. The aim is to provide politicians with an insight into how the Nordic business community can contribute to a faster transition to a low carbon society with strengthened Nordic competitiveness.

One of the conclusions from the report is that the Nordic region can play an important role in contributing to reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement. The CEOs in the report are clear that the Nordics can contribute by:

  • Showing global leadership
  • Being a role-model and a show-case for smart solutions
  • Promoting cooperation between countries
  • Spreading innovations
  • Exporting solutions

When looking at the key to success – the result is clear. Long-term predictable regulationshave enabled companies to reduce their emissions. The fact that the Nordic region has great access to renewable energy and a high level of innovation also plays an important role. The main reasons for why the companies say climate efforts boost competitiveness are:

  • New business opportunities are created
  • Energy and resource efficiency reduces costs
  • Employer branding is strengthened, and employees are more satisfied
  • Increased customer demand leads to increased sales
  • Environmental requirements are included in public procurement

Summarizing the findings from the interviews, it is clear that climate change and the transition to a greener economy is top of mind of CEOs, chairs and top-level management in Nordic companies. There is also a strong commitment from leading Nordic export companies to reduce both their own emissions and be part of the global solution to climate change. All companies see a connection between GHG emission reductions and profitability and com­petitiveness. Therefore, it is not surprising that the companies welcome higher targets for speeding up the climate transition.

Many company leaders believe that the Nordic region can play a more important role internationally, to boost global climate efforts. Talking with one voice, the Nordics are capable of challenging the European Union to adapt more ambitious climate policies, push for higher ambitions and put the right price on externalities. This is not only good for the climate, but also for businesses and Nordic competitiveness.

Reducing climate impact is the biggest business opportunity of our time. We, business networks from the Nordics, see four clear strategies that can strengthen Nordic businesses and contribute to reaching the Paris Agreement. We urge ministers in the Nordic countries to start collaborating to help companies in the frontline by:

  • Setting goals for citizen carbon footprint that would steer consumers towards better choices, and push companies to be more responsible
  • Making all public procurement fossil free or climate neutral to boost the market for smart solutions and benefit companies that lead the transformation
  • Creating common Nordic standards to create a permanent world fair for sustainable solutions
  • Government risk-sharing through a public investment bank that can put financial strength behind promising climate solutions and take new ideas to market quicker

In order to reap the benefits of the biggest business opportunity of our time, the Nor­dics must be on the frontline and create solutions before they become global main­stream. This is a unique opportunity, since we know that the demand for new solutions will be there. Currently, the world is not on track to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. After conversations with some of the top corporate executives in the Nordic region, we are convinced that the Nordics can lead the way and make the world move faster towards a green economy.

For more information:

Jouni Keronen, Executive Director, Climate Leadership Coalition,

Nina Ekelund, Executive Director, the Haga Initiative

Svante Axelsson, National Coordinator, Fossil Free Sweden

Jens Ulltveit-Moe, Chairman, steering committee for Norway 203040

Anna Margrét Kornelíusdóttir, Project Manager, Icelandic New Energy