Sustainability in Sweden
Sustainable development is a key objective for the Swedish Government, both at home and abroad. The reasoning is that members of one generation should conserve resources for future generations.
In recent years, Swedes — as individuals, as politicians and as entrepreneurs – have become increasingly aware of their responsibility for the environment. There is, for example, a steadily growing interest in organic food. In Europe, where the organic food market is growing by 5–7 percent a year, Sweden tops the green shoppers’ list. A recent study by the European Commission found that 40 percent of Swedes had purchased an eco-labeled item over the past month, compared with the EU average of 17 percent.
Interest in organic clothing is also increasing. In recent years, more stores selling organic apparel have opened while established stores, including Swedish retail giant H&M, have begun using organic fabrics in their collections. The second-hand market, both in stores and online, is also growing.
Sweden is also at the forefront of recycling and waste management. In 2005, stricter requirements were introduced for packaging and paper producers, aimed at making producers take responsibility for their products. Sweden now prohibits the sale of drinks in plastic bottles or metal cans that are not part of an approved recycling system.
Aaah, a cooling dip in the Baltic Sea! But, hang on, what’s this green-brown slime? Algae are a big problem for the Baltic, with algal blooms often forming as soon as the water along the Swedish shores gets warm enough for swimming. Researchers have come up with some ingenious uses for this sometimes foul-smelling and toxic algal slime.
Sweden is striving to ensure that the next generation can take over a society where the major environmental problems have been solved. The “generational goal” involves 16 environmental quality objectives to be achieved by 2020.
The core principle of sustainable development is that members of one generation should act to conserve resources for future generations. For most Swedes today, sustainability is a way of life.
Cutting-edge technology, a wealth of natural assets and a high proportion of renewable energy — Sweden is in the front line as the world embarks on a shift to more sustainable energy systems.