Swedish firms take on sustainability targets

Pledges to end fossil fuel use, halve freight transport, made by construction, retail groups

Twenty leading Swedish construction firms plus three municipalities have pledged to break new ground and find ways to end their use of fossil fuels when building and heating new homes by 2025. The pledge comes following discussions with the government on how to achieve sustainable development in the sector. Another group of 16 companies, operating in the retailing, food and information technology sectors, has promised to cut its overall use of freight transport by half by the same date.

The two initiatives are the result of government-to-business "dialogues" between the sectoral groupings and the Swedish environmental advisory council (EAC), an official body. The pledges are likely to mark a first step towards "sustainability" voluntary agreements between industry and government, according to Maria Delvin of the EAC.

The construction industry's "build/live" dialogue focused on achieving "energy solutions," and the target date coincides with the government's deadline for integrating sustainable development into all sectoral policies "within a generation" (ENDS Daily 22 September 1997).

Pilot projects to coordinate manufacturer-to-retailer freight transport - particularly of commodities and internet-ordered goods - were important ingredients in the "future retail" group's bid to halve road transportation of commodities, the EAC adds.

Follow Up:
Swedish government, tel: +46 8 405 1000, a press release, and the EAC.

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