Nordic CEOs discuss how to accelerate climate transition post COVID-19

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The Nordic CEOs for a Sustainable Future, among them Allison Kirkby, President and CEO of Telia Company, met virtually on July 2 with Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland, and Erna Solberg, Prime Minster of Norway, to address how companies and governments can accelerate action on climate and diversity.

“The corona pandemic has shown the importance of connectivity and digitalization for lives and livelihoods,” said Allison Kirkby. “As societies are reshaped, we must now strive for growth that addresses the climate challenge and is based on fundamental principles of sustainability, such as the respect of human rights and equal opportunity. Working across sectors, and with governments, to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, is more important than ever. Together we can achieve so much more.”

The discussion with the Prime Ministers was a follow-up of the previous meeting in August 2019, when Nordic Prime Ministers and CEOs made a public statement about their shared vision for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The focus is set on advancing action on climate change and promoting diversity and inclusion aligned to SDGs 5, 12 and 13 through greater public-private sector collaboration.

Initiatives to drive climate and diversity changes

The CEOs presented their principles, commitments and asks towards the Nordic Council of Ministers in their joint effort to accelerate sustainability action on climate and diversity.

The new challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis have only strengthened the Nordic CEOs dedication to deliver results on their SDG vision. Within both climate and diversity and inclusion areas, the companies are focusing on driving stronger disclosure, target setting and work within value chains.

In order to turn these efforts into effective and profound measures, the CEOs encourage the Nordic Council of Ministers to take steps necessary to accelerate the speed of change. On climate, they call governments to stimulate the transition to a net-zero carbon society through implementing new incentives, policy and lay ground for better reporting. On the issue of diversity and inclusion, the governments are encouraged to facilitate specific government initiatives and incentives related to reporting, procurement and equal pay.

Nordic CEOs for a Sustainable Future is an initiative consisting of CEOs of some of the Nordic region’s largest listed companies. Together, they have committed to integrate the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in their respective business strategies, and to create a forum for exchange of experiences and exploration of shared initiatives.

The initiative also creates a platform for the Nordic Prime Ministers to engage directly with CEOs on how to move from sustainability as a compliance exercise to purpose-driven companies. Collectively, the companies operate across industries representing revenues of more than EUR 115 billion and 170,000 employees worldwide.