Work for clearer environmental goals
The Swedish Parliament has adopted objectives for environmental quality within 16 areas. These define the quality and state of Sweden’s environment and natural and cultural resources that are environmentally sustainable in the long term. Each year the Environmental Objectives Council reports to the government on how far the work has come in attaining these environment quality objectives.
Holistic view is important!
Sweden’s trade and industry affirms the strategic goal of sustainable development and considers that environmental objectives – which ensure that work on behalf of the environment advances as intended – are justified. A holistic view is important, however, so that measures taken in the course of this environmental work shall not have counterproductive effects. The existence of these objectives is in no way a prerequisite for the environmental work undertaken by industry and commerce – should the environmental objectives disappear the environmental work would continue. These objectives, however, are a good compass for industry’s own internal work for the sake of the environment and to obtain an overview of Sweden’s environmental policy.
Environmental Objective Work
= Work for the Environment
Environmental objectives – including strategies for action – constitute the foundation of Sweden’s environmental policy at present. It is, therefore, important that work for environmental objectives is not seen as a separate phenomenon – the work for these objectives is the same as environmental work and is a result of environmental policy. When our companies adopt measures that enhance the status of the environment, this also contributes to the fulfilment of the environmental goals. To carry out environmental work is the same as to work for the fulfilment of environmental objectives.
The investments made by trade and industry play a crucial role in helping to realise these objectives. To obtain well-founded environmental impact analyses, satisfactory results from negotiations and well-targeted objectives and environmental policy there is a requirement for continuous collaboration with trade and industry at several different levels – from trade organisations centrally to companies at the local level.
The environmental objective system has now been in existence for ten years and has grown to become ever more far-reaching. Despite the environmental work in Sweden there have been a number of little red guys – the system’s own marking for objectives that have not been met and a signal of failure.
Cross-border environmental effects
It is important to appreciate the scope of international environmental influence and what can be achieved with the national system. This was one of the main tasks of the enquiry set up by the Swedish government in the summer of 2008 to develop the environmental objective work. The enquiry’s conclusions will play an important role in future government legislation concerning environmental objectives.
Our fundamental standpoints
- The work for environmental objectives should not be seen as a separate phenomenon – it is the same as environmental work and a result of environmental policy. Simplify the future structure.
- Internationalise environmental objectives in their presentation, purpose and assessment.
- Always take account of international negotiations in the event of cross-border environmental problems e.g. where the reduction in greenhouse gases or airborne emissions are concerned.
- The business sector shall, at all times, be a co-operation partner in the formulation of environmental policy.
- Clarify the substance of the ecological dimension in sustainable development and ensure the impact analysis of objectives set and measures adopted from a sustainability perspective.
- Base the work for environmental objectives on an active eco-cycle approach.
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