By ROY C. MABASA
The Team Sweden has lauded some of its major firms in the Philippines for pioneering the green energy and industrial transition, sustainable transport solution, a circular economy and a host of other measures aimed at preserving the environment and biodiversity.
Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines Annika Thunborg made this remark at the recent business forum titled
“Pioneering the Green Transition: Innovating Now for a Sustainable and Livable Tomorrow” at the Shangri-la The Fort in Taguig City.
“In rapidly growing economies, a green and sustainable transition can assist in socio-economic development. Sustainability in all aspects – environmental, social, and economic – is part of this and will lead to inclusion and better health and quality of life for all,” she said.
The forum coincided with Sweden’s National Day and the 500th anniversary of the ascension to the throne of Gustav Vasa as king.
Sweden ranks 3rd in the 2022 Sustainable Development Goals Report and 5th in the Climate Change Performance Index.
Thunborg explained that this is made possible through the “quadruple helix model” which involves collaboration with the Philippine Government, Swedish and Filipino private sector, international development institutions and other expert communities such as academia, as well as advocates in civil society.
This, she said, is “instrumental in Sweden’s journey from one of the poorest countries in Europe to a prosperous welfare state with globally recognized companies and innovative startups.”
Swedish companies in the Philippines move the green transition forward by implementing sustainable business processes in their operations in various industries.
Energy companies such as ABB and Hitachi Energy are world leaders in electrification and in building transmission lines that include all. Atlas Copco utilizes energy efficiency to minimize energy waste; ICT giant Ericsson and manufacturers Electrolux (home appliances), SKF (bearings), and Swedish Match (smokeless tobacco products) use renewable energy sources like solar energy and waste to energy in their operations.
Thunborg’s speech resonated with the audience as she emphasized the core values that define Sweden—openness, inclusion, innovation, sustainability, and the spirit of collaboration.
In a separate speech at the National Day, she also cited the longstanding friendship between Sweden and the Philippines, acknowledging the remarkable similarities and shared interests between the two nations despite their significant geographical distance.
Ambassador Thunborg also mentioned the recent visit of Swedish Ministry for Trade Johan Forssell to the Philippines as a testament to the commitment to cooperation and mutual growth.
Thunborg touched upon the significance of 2023 for Sweden, as it holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union during the first half of the year.
Citing global challenges faced by nations such as Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, climate change, and economic difficulties, Thunborg has identified four key priorities for its term: security and unity, competitiveness, green and energy transition, and democratic values and the rule of law.
These priorities, she said, were highlighted as a reflection of the shared vision and values between Sweden and the Philippines.
Ambassador Thunborg emphasized the importance of safe and secure borders in building socio-economically sustainable societies, preserving our planet for future generations through the international rules-based system, and embracing the green transition to foster peace, stability, and interconnectedness.
Sweden, renowned for its expertise in security and defense cooperation, health and education, capacity building, retail and design, telecommunications, sustainable transport, and green industry and energy, expressed its commitment to sharing its knowledge and collaborating with the Philippines in these areas.
Thunborg expressed her optimism for the future of Sweden-Philippines relations and the positive impact that joint efforts can bring to both nations.