Leading Nordic companies met with the Ministers of Climate and Environment from Norway, Sweden, and Iceland in Oslo. The main takeaway is clear: To come close to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, it is crucial to enhance collaboration between Nordic businesses and politicians.
- Nature underpins our prosperity and wellbeing and is a prerequisite for a robust society. Protecting nature is also about protecting our economy and is the key to a sustainable future. As we enter the decade of action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, I am pleased to see that the Nordic CEOs acknowledges that they have a critical role to play. Their technology, innovation and resources are crucial components needed to make the significant shift towards a nature positive society in line with the objectives of the Global biodiversity framework, says the Minister of Climate and Environment in Norway, Andreas Bjelland Eriksen.
The meeting was organized by Nordic CEOs for a Sustainable Future, a network consisting of nine of the largest companies in the Nordics, including Telenor, Yara, Storebrand, Posten Bring, Marel, Islandsbanki, SAS, Swedbank and GSMA. The network was established in 2018.
One of the key issues discussed was collective efforts to achieve the goals of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which was adopted by all UN member countries, except the USA, in December 2022.
- The groundbreaking nature agreement underscores the urgent need to address the global environmental crisis and protect our planet's biodiversity. It also sends a clear signal for action by government, business, and society. Today’s fruitful dialogue kicks off what I hope to be a sincere and efficient arena for private-public cooperation that will make a profound difference, says Sigve Brekke, CEO of Telenor Group.
Concrete measures and close dialogue
In addition to Bjelland Eriksen, Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister of Climate, Energy, and Environment in Iceland, Romina Pourmokhtari, Minister of Climate and Environment in Sweden, and Ola Elvestuen, Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party and former Minister of Climate and Environment in Norway, also participated.
- It is important that the Nordic countries prioritize implementing concrete measures, action plans, and foster enhanced collaboration between the private and public sectors. Use the force for transformation from the Nordic business sector and the financial markets, was the message from Jens Henriksson, the President and CEO of Swedbank, to the politicians.
During the meeting, all CEOs presented the status of their companies' work on nature and their expectations from politicians. Closer dialogue and more collaboration in the significant work ahead were important messages from the network. The participating politicians also presented their political plans for nature in the Nordic countries.
Nature commitments among the Nordic companies
In 2023, the network launched a set of updated, mutual commitments for sustainability, including nature.
- The companies in the network have, among other things, committed to start initial reporting on nature data and include nature as a topic in business strategy if material. This is a clear signal that we are taking responsibility, and we hope and expect that politicians do the same, says CEO of Yara, Svein Tore Holsether.
In 2024, the network has significant plans for further efforts to achieve the goals and inspire other Nordic companies. They recently released a guide on how companies can get started and work on sustainable procurement, the third in the series.
- I must underscore the pivotal role nature will play in our collective future. Our meeting with the Environment and Climate Ministers of Iceland, Norway, and Sweden in Oslo signifies the utmost importance we place on environmental sustainability. Concurrently, we remain unwavering in our commitment to fulfill the pledges we have made in other critical areas, such as diversity and inclusion, climate, and reporting. Our network is dedicated to driving meaningful change and setting the standard for responsible business practices in the Nordics and beyond, concludes Arni Oddur Thordarson, CEO of Marel and chair of Nordic CEOs for a Sustainable Future in 2023.