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Sweden is the most sustainable country in the world

The core principle of sustainable development is that members of one generation should act to conserve resources for future generations. For most Swedes today, sustainability is a way of life. Here’s your guide to sustainable living in Sweden.

 

Living for the future

Sweden ranks first in the EU in consumption of organic foods, leads the way in recycling drinks cans and bottles, and gets the highest share of its energy from renewable sources. What’s more, Swedish fashion retailer H&M is a world leader in using organic cotton and the Government has allocated SEK 400 million for research and development of environment technology.

 

Green Swedes

In Europe, where the organic food market is growing by 5-7 per cent a year, Sweden ranks at the top of the green shoppers list. A study by the European Commission found that 40 per cent of Swedes had purchased an eco-labeled item in the past month, which is more often than the European average.

In recent years, more stores with organic apparel have opened while established brands have started to use organic fabrics in their collections. According to the organization Textile Exchange, H&M is the world’s largest user of organic cotton.

 

Vintage fashion

The secondhand clothing market, both in stores and online, is also growing. Vintage fashion is so popular that even established chains are selling second-hand items. Swedish clothing company Weekday sells vintage pieces alongside new apparel, as does fashion store Grandpa. Sweden’s first and only vintage clothing fair, Vintagemässan, started in Stockholm in 2008, and now attracts more than 6,000 people every year.

 

Recycling leader

Swedes were more conscientious about recycling beverage containers in 2010 than ever before. The target of including 90 per cent of all aluminum cans and PET bottles in the recycling system is close to being reached, today hitting about 88 per cent.

According to recent statistics from Swedish recycling company Returpack, Swedes returned an average of 146 cans and bottles per person for deposit. In recent years, Returpack has introduced a number of measures to get people to recycle more, including doubling the deposit on containers and innovative advertising campaigns, such as Pantamera.

 

Investing in green technology

In 2011, the Government presented a new environmental technology strategy to establish favourable conditions for the growth and development of environmental technology companies. It had three main objectives:

• promote the export of Swedish environmental technology and thus contribute to sustainable economic growth in Sweden and globally

• promote research and innovation in environmental technology and create the conditions required for green technology companies to flourish in Sweden

• make it easier to commercialise innovations.

 

The strategy is backed by SEK 400 million in total funding with SEK 100 million allocated each year from 2011 to 2014. Sweden’s environmental technology sector employs roughly 40,000 people and has revenues of about SEK 120 billion, according to Statistics Sweden and the then Swedish Environmental Technology Council.

 

Source: Sweden.se, 2017

Wednesday Apr 26, 2017