Erik Wottrich

Management Consultant, Responsible for Centigo’s Sustainability Hub

Will state-owned companies continue to lead the way?

2018-okt-31 17:17:08

State-owned companies have come the furthest in integrating sustainability into their business models in Sweden, but in the current unclear political landscape, what does the future hold?

In Sweden the state-owned companies and the listed companies have come the furthest in their efforts of integrating sustainability into their business and operational models according to the latest edition of the Sustainable Business Outlook conducted by Allies and Centigo. Out of a maximum score of 100 the state-owned companies got a 78 index score, followed by the listed companies at a 75 index score. A testament to their great efforts during the past couple of years.

Sustainability in state-owned companies
Swedish state-owned companies have set a higher standard for their sustainability efforts going back to 2014 when the Government Offices gave new instructions to the state-owned companies to start developing long-term sustainable business models.

In the latest Sustainable Business Outlook conducted by Allies and Centigo in 2017, we wanted to find out how business and operational models have been adapted to meet global sustainability challenges according to international guidelines for sustainable businesses. More than 100 of Sweden’s largest companies and organizations participated.

Instead of dividing the participants by industry we have looked at them through a different perspective, namely analysing them based on their ownership structure. The Index consists of the result from a self assessment study. The following main areas of an organizations sustainability efforts was concluded:

  • Sustainability leadership
  • Business approach to sustainability
  • Main stream integration of sustainalbility issues


With the current unclear political situation in Sweden, where no new government has been formed over a month after the election, what does the future hold for the state-owned companies? Will their strong performance in relation to other sectors in society continue? Or will a new government hamper the sustainable performance of the state-owned companies, decreasing their positive contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the IPCC 1.5 degrees goal?

Even though the Sustainable Business Outlook puts the state-owned companies ahead of other categories many Swedish companies, such as IKEA, Volvo, Ericsson and H&M are considered to be on the forefront in terms of sustainable business, owing in part to the legislative environment, the so called Swedish model and their innovative power. Will the new Swedish stars on the corporate horizon, such as Spotify, Klarna, iZettle and King maintain the high standard set by state-owned companies and the likes of IKEA and H&M?

Read the article: How to deliver sustainable change in 6 weeks

 The Sustainable Business Outlook was conducted in 2017 by Allies and Centigo in cooperation with our partners Sustainable Innovation, RISE, Global Utmaning and Förebildsföretaget. Daniel Steinholtz (daniel@allies.se) was the responsible partner and Erik Wottrich (erik.wottrich@centigo.se) the project manager.

Contact Erik Wottrich

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Tags: Sustainability Hållbarhet Statligt_ägda_företag Affärsutveckling Nydanande_teknik_och_affärsmodeller Sustainable_business