Sustainability, Innovation High On Agenda For Team Sweden Visit To Pune – India’s Swedish Hub

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Pune, 23rd November 2021: Team Sweden delegates from the Embassy of Sweden in Delhi, Consulate General of Sweden in Mumbai, Swedish Chamber of Commerce in India (SCCI), Business Sweden (BS) are in Pune to meet local stakeholders for continued engagement in the Swedish sectors of expertise – sustainability and innovation.

It also marked the launch of the results of ‘Environmental Sustainability Mapping Study’ of Swedish companies in west India, with a primary presence in Pune. The Office of Science & Innovation (OSI) based at the Embassy in Delhi is also meeting with the Pune Knowledge cluster to explore collaboration between Swedish and Indian Science & Technology clusters. Pune has been a major hub for Swedish companies in India since the 1960s. Of the 108 Swedish companies in Maharashtra, a majority have their presence in Pune and about 36 are headquartered in the city. The Swedish business presence in Pune is broad in sectors of manufacturing, Information and Communications Technology, services, sales and distribution.

At the event, an ‘Environmental Sustainability Mapping Study’ of 18 Swedish companies was commissioned by the Consulate General of Sweden in Mumbai and the Swedish Chamber of Commerce India (SCCI) in association with Centre for Environmental Research and Education (CERE).

Anna Lekvall, Consul General of Sweden in Mumbai, said, “The green transition and climate action is a high priority for Sweden and it is encouraging that the local Swedish companies are exhibiting leadership and commitment toward sustainability. This first-of-its-kind sustainability mapping study of Swedish companies in Maharashtra and Gujarat will further support and strengthen co-operation going forward.”

The aim of the 3-month qualitative and quantitative study was to map the sustainability initiatives of the local Swedish companies’ in western India, their green transition agenda, highlight their best practices, identify challenges, provide solutions and further strengthen collaborations for sustainability through Sweden-India platforms. 70% of these companies fall within the manufacturing sector.

The study highlighted how the Swedish companies in west India have been actively promoting sustainability and demonstrating leadership in environmental stewardship with initiatives such as switching to renewable energy and electric mobility, implementing energy efficiency, investing in green buildings, promoting water conservation and integrating a green transition across value chains. These initiatives have been supported by accelerated innovation, a suitable ecosystem and active engagement with environmentally conscious stakeholders like employees, suppliers and customers, among others. The study also recognizes and analyses the challenges the companies face in their green transition endeavour and provides recommendations to boost sustainability efforts within internal practices and stakeholder engagements.

Sara Larsson, Head of Swedish Chamber of Commerce in India (SCCI), said, “Working together on environmental sustainability can increase learning, enable local solutions, and ramp up the transition process. As next steps, Team Sweden aims to promote knowledge exchange, capacity building and collaborative approach around environmental sustainability between companies, academia and research institutions.”

Since 2018, Swedish companies in Pune have had long-term cooperation for strengthening women in the workforce under the ‘Kraftsamla’ initiative, a strategic project under the aegis of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce India, in collaboration with the Embassy of Sweden in Delhi and Consulate General of Sweden in Mumbai, in line with the Swedish feminist foreign policy. Kraftsamla in Swedish means to ‘join forces’ and is a wonderful opportunity to promote gender equality in the workforce.

Sustainability and Innovation are high on the agenda for both countries since a Joint Action Plan was signed in 2018 encouraging strong collaborations in smart cities, green energy transition, waste management, clean water, sustainable transport and the environment.

In 2019, both countries launched a Leadership Group on Industry Transition (LeadIT) for lowering CO2 emissions in heavy industries and building a fossil-free future. Sweden strengthened this partnership in March 2021 by participating in the Indian Sweden Innovation Accelerator (ISIA) that endorses clean energy, a sustainable environment and public transport. Additionally, the Swedish industry contributes to India’s development in areas of green energy, innovation, ICT, digitalization, sustainable transport, clean air, recyclable products, health and life sciences. Very recently in November 2021, Team Sweden organized ‘Time for India’, a trade and investment roadshow in Sweden to highlight possible prospects of collaboration for Swedish companies in India and Indian companies in Sweden.

According to Ambassador Klas Molin, during the recent trade and investment roadshow in Sweden titled ‘Time for India’, team Sweden along with India’s Ambassador to Sweden Mr Tanmay Lal highlighted many opportunities available for Swedish companies in India and for Indian companies in Sweden to representatives of the private sector, government and other decisions makers to discuss trade and investment.

Swedish companies continue to thrive in India. Even in the wake of the challenges posed by the pandemic, Swedish companies have continued to invest, expand, and believe in India.

Team Sweden recently also launched the ‘Business Climate Survey 2020-21’ that provides valuable information on the business climate in India, as perceived by Swedish companies. The survey highlights important areas such as green transition and women in the workforce. According to the survey, about 65% of Swedish companies in India find the business climate favourable. It also states that the Swedish companies plan to double their investments in India in the next 2 years.