United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Sweden

Swedish intervention at Thematic Discussion:
Enhancing the contributions of the private sector and other
stakeholders in addressing air pollution, and atmospheric
problems, combating climate change and promoting industrial
development
I want to align myself with the statement made by the EU and highlight some
issues that Sweden find particularly important.
Sweden would like to call attention to the fact that sustainable development holds
business opportunities and we can already see that companies all over the world
have found that out. One lesson that we have learnt in Sweden is that
environmental improvement in business is not an expense item but an investment.
Integration of environmental work in business strategies can lead to great
competitive advantages for both small and larger businesses. This was the
Swedish Agency for Economics and Regional Development conclusion drawn
from a Program on Environmental Driven Business. In the same program a
number of new and enhanced methods and tools for small and medium sized
enterprises are developed.
The Swedish Government attaches great importance to Corporate Social
Responsibility. Sweden strongly believes that responsible business practices ? or
CSR ? is a decisive part of a development that will help reverse the trend of
increased skepticism towards globalization and free trade policies. But we must
make sure that demands for CSR not exclude developing countries from global
markets. CSR is not about applying the same standards in other countries as we
have in Sweden or within the EU. CSR is about establishing a floor for human
decency in business.
We also need to explore how Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility
and Accountability can be further implemented and its development impact
enhanced. We need to face the task of specifying in more detail the extent and
content of social and environmental responsibility and how it should be translated
into practice. The ongoing negotiations o a new ISO guidance standard on Social
Responsibility ? ISO 26000 - could provide an excellent opportunity for
governments to together with civil society define what CSR means in practice.
There is also a need to find a better understanding for a sustainable use of
ecosystem services as an economic asset.
Delivered 9 May 2006

The cost of inaction should not be borne by future generations. We need strong
institutional frameworks, good governance, predictable investment conditions and
international cooperation. We also need to work closely together with the market.
Unsustainable consumption and production patterns are a mayor barrier. There
has been much emphasis on important factors such as the need for technology
and recycling. But we must also emphasize effective infrastructure and to use
supply chain management in promoting sustainable consumption and production.
Our lifestyles and the way we are consuming products and services is another
important issue. For the affluent this will mean to consume differently, for the poor
to be able to consume more in a sustainable way.
To conclude the transfer to sustainable consumption and production patterns
creates possibilities for new markets for business but also implies a responsibility
to provide sustainable products and services on the market.
Thank you
Stakeholders