An interview study among leading businesses in the Nordics on raised climate ambitions shows that Nordic business leaders are concerned about climate change and its consequences and expressed the need to ramp up climate actions. All of the CEOs regarded climate change as a threat. Nordic companies can play a key role delivering climate solutions worldwide and help their customers and countries to align with the 1.5°C target.

The 40 interviewed business leaders’ represent companies with approximately 1.2 million employees across the globe. The aggregated revenue of the companies is around 326 billion euros, corresponding to approximately 24 percent of the GDP of the Nordic region.

Among the participants in the study were representatives from A.P. Moller Maersk, Astra Zeneca, Ericsson, Falck, Folksam, Fortum, H&M Group, Huhtamäki, ISS, LKAB, Neste, Nordea, Scania, Skanska, St1 Nordic, Storebrand and Veidekke.

The study was conducted in co-operation by the leading Nordic climate business networks: Haga Initiative of Sweden, Climate Leadership Coalition of Finland and Skift Business Climate Leaders of Norway. The study was financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers and it can be read via this link: Report Nordic CEOs view of raised climate ambitions

Nordic business leaders are not opponents to policy makers, they are, on the contrary, asking policy makers to collaborate and ask for strong incentives, especially in developing and commercialising climate solutions faster. The Nordic business leaders are clear about which incentives they want to see, such as carbon pricing, higher climate requirements in public procurement, and standardized methodology on companies’ climate reporting. The majority of business leaders preferred carbon pricing, either in the form of carbon tax or emission trading scheme, as an instrument for decarbonization.

Climate transformation spurs Nordic competitiveness on a global market while they’re also developing inclusive, welfare societies – and by joining forces with business and national governments.the Nordic region can become the most sustainable region in the world.

“Don’t talk, act” is the key message from the Nordic business leaders to other CEOs. Collaboration with other companies is vital to the success of decarbonisation. There is a need for companies to discuss value chain cooperation, partnerships and to collaborate topush policy for higher climate ambitions.

The report was published in a high-level webinar 11 January, 2022. Nordic ministers in charge of environment and climate issues, CEOs and the leadership of the Nordic Council of Ministers were present in the event and gave the following comments:

“This report clearly shows that public and private cooperation and partnerships must be an integral part of achieving our vision of making the Nordics the most sustainable and integrated region in the world”, says Paula Lehtomäki, Secretary General, Nordic Council of Ministers.

“The Nordic business community are in the lead and well prepared for a world with strong climate measures and higher carbon pricing. It is great to see this report confirms that. I believe a green Nordic business sector is vital to reach our climate goals”, says Espen Barth Eide, Minister of Climate and Environment, Norway.

It is a top priority of ours to strengthen the green industrial revolution with new jobs and lower emissions. The Nordic countries have the potential to show leadership globally; and I am happy to see that the Nordic businesses are committed to delivering on the 1.5 degree target. I look forward to raise the ambition further in Sweden and in the Nordic region in collaboration with businesses”, says Annika Strandhäll, Minister of Climate and the Environment, Sweden.

Nordic companies have demonstrated that they can provide climate solutions for global markets, and I believe that the Nordic countries can and should provide an even stronger lead market for those solutions. I warmly welcome new initiatives and ideas to develop joint Nordic markets for green and sustainable products and services”, says Emma Kari, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Finland.

I’m pleased that the Nordic CEOs share our ambitious targets and – like the Danish Government – feel responsible to act. Two years ago, we set ourselves a very ambitious target of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 70 pct. by 2030, and we have already come a long way. During the last two years, we have presented decisions and policies that ensure reductions corresponding to half of the needed in order to meet the 70 pct. This has partly been based on a strong collaboration with the private sector through our 14 Climate Partnerships. While we dig deeper into the Danish transition I’m sure we need to continue the strong dialogue between Governments and the business community to collectively reach the needed greenhouse gas reductions”, says Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities, Denmark.

“Companies have drive, dynamism and know-how that is needed to combat climate change. Public and private actors need to cooperate to achieve a clean energy transition and sustainability”, says Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister for the Environment, Energy and Climate, Iceland.

“The science is clear, we must act now to deliver significant progress in solving the climate challenge. A key lever to incentivise the much-needed green transition of our industry would be global regulation such as the introduction of a global market-based GHG price as well as a R&D fund to secure just transition i.e. channeling support to developing countries”, says Soren Skou, CEO A.P. Moller Maersk.

A feasible path to limit planetary warming to 1.5°C requires developed nations and easy-to-electrify sectors to go below net zero and to do so well before the middle of the century. That is because, try as they might, many developing nations and hard-to-abate sectors will not be able to achieve zero emissions by 2050″, says Remi Eriksen, Group President and CEO of DNV.

The report clearly shows the commitment of companies to do their fair share of solving the challenge with their footprint, but also focusing on handprint and making the business out of that. Effective price for carbon in Nordics in internationally is important to speed up the positive development”, says Hannu Keinänen, CEO Ensto.

“We do not see the transition to net zero as a burden, but the opportunity it is. But we are running out of time. And transforming heavy industry and the value chain of materials takes time. Today, it is not the financial viability that holds back the massive investments needed in renewable electricity production for the transformation of heavy industry and the value chains of materials in the Nordics. The major issue is the permitting process and the time it takes. To succeed, our societies need a whole new focus on time”, says Jan Moström, CEO of LKAB.

“Nordic CEOs show leadership. Two-thirds of the responding companies stated that they are aligned with the 1.5°C target, which is ambitious in a global context. Still, they want to see sharper targets and incentives, they want to collaborate, and they stress that policy should have higher ambition and also higher speed; this is important in urgent times”, says Nina Ekelund, Executive Director, Haga Initiative, Sweden.

“This report demonstrate that the Nordic business community support the vision for the Nordic region to become the most sustainable and integrated region in the world. Now is time to act”, says Björn K Haugland, CEO, Skift Business Climate Leaders, Norway.

“The report indicates that Nordic companies, with our climate solutions, can help in decreasing our customers carbon footprint worldwide. There is no upper limit for this positive carbon handprint effect. And we can use the Nordic home market as a development platform for global climate solutions”, says Jouni Keronen, CEO Climate Leadership Coalition, Finland.

More information: Nina Ekelund, Executive Director, Haga Initiative, phone: +46735 022464, nina.ekelund@hagainitiativet.seJouni Keronen, Chief Executive Officer, Climate Leadership Coalition, phone: +358 50 4534881,  jouni.keronen@clc.fi, Bjørn K. Haugland, Chief Executive Officer, Skift Business Climate Leaders, phone: +4797687315, bjorn@skiftnorge.no