"Time for a new industrial policy for Sweden"

  • 2021-09-15
  • 15:10
  • News

“Time for a new industrial policy for Sweden”

Climate transition initiatives and electrification are now progressing rapidly in Swedish industry. We are proud of that, but unfortunately politics is often far behind. That is why we today are presenting a new reform agenda.
– We create real climate benefits every day, but now politics must give us the right conditions to continue to dare to invest here in Sweden, says Maria Sunér, CEO of Svemin.

With less than a year left until the Riksdag election, fourteen industry and employers’ organisations in the Swedish industry present a common platform – “The Industry’s Reform Agenda: We are leading the sustainable change” – which is addressed to all parties in the Riksdag.

Maria Sunér, who has led the work on the agenda, states that it is high time for a new consensus between politicians, authorities and Swedish industry to lift Sweden as an industrial nation, create sustainable growth and to rectify the system errors that stand in the way of this.

The reform agenda contains twelve areas for reform. At the top of the reform list is the desire for effective permit examinations.

– Sweden’s dated and dysfunctional system is a stumbling block for a necessary development of activities that are important to society, not least the climate transition. If Sweden is to have a chance of coping with the climate transition, a radical improvement of the permit processes is required. Today’s permit processes are characterised by both ambiguity and inefficiency. It is not legally certain, she says.

The highly topical cement crisis puts the finger on the infected intersection between ideological environmental ambition and the real adjustment work carried out by Swedish industry.

– We need a strong Swedish industrial policy that sees the big picture and does not slow down the transition. We need long-term and predictable solutions to the permit processes and a power supply that works. We must also address the competence shortages and bottlenecks in the labor market, says Maria Sunér.

Political action is urgent

– Ambitious investment plans in the industry that can make Sweden a world leader in climate-neutral raw materials risk being lost if nothing is done from politics. It is time for a new industrial policy for Sweden, she says.

Some of our suggestions for achieving efficient permitting processes:

  • Change the procedural rules of the Environmental Code and clarify the roles of applicants, relevant authorities and courts
  • Amend the Environmental Code so that existing activities are, as a general rule, examined through change permits
  • The focus must be on the main environmental issues – not details
  • Ensure that the interest in societal benefits and sustainable development is better utilised in the examination

Read more about the industry’s other reform areas and proposals here (Swedish).

About the Industry’s Reform Agenda

The industry’s reform agenda has been developed by 14 leading industry and employer organisations and consists of twelve reform areas. All twelve reform areas are connected and need to be addressed if the industry is to accelerate growth, if we succeed in this, the industry can continue to contribute to Sweden and Swedish welfare in the future. The industry reform agenda can be downloaded here (Swe.)

Behind the reform agenda are:

  • Byggmaterialindustrierna (The Construction Materials Industries)
  • Gröna arbetsgivare (The Swedish Federation of Green Employers)
  • Grafiska Företagen (The Swedish Graphic Industries Federation)
  • IKEM – Innovations- och Kemiindustrierna (Innovation and Chemical Industries in Sweden)
  • Industriarbetsgivarna (The Swedish Association of Industrial Employers)
  • Jernkontoret (The Swedish Iron and Steel Producers’ Association)
  • Livsmedelsföretagen (The Swedish Food Federation)
  • SBMI, Sveriges Bergmaterialindustri (Swedish Aggregates Producers Association)
  • Skogsindustrierna (The Swedish Forest Industries Federation)
  • Svemin (The Swedish Association of Mines, Mineral and Metal Producers)
  • Teknikföretagen (The Association of Swedish Engineering Industries)
  • TEKO, Sveriges Textil- och Modeföretag, (The Swedish Trade and Employers’ Association for Textile and Fashion Industry)
  • TMF, Trä- och Möbelföretagen, (The Swedish Federation of Wood and Furniture Industry)
  • Återvinningsindustrierna (The Industry Organization for Private Recycling Companies in Sweden)

About Swedish industry

The industrial sector accounts for 20 percent of GDP. Approximately 800,000 people have their jobs directly and indirectly thanks to the demand for industrial companies’ production. In addition, about 185,000 people in the municipality and state are financed by taxes from industry.

Swedish industry – which generally has a smaller climate footprint than similar industries in other countries – is a global concern in that 78 percent of the value added is exports. Creating good and improved competitive conditions for Swedish industry thus contributes to increasing market shares, while at the same time countries where industry makes a larger climate footprint find it more difficult to compete.