Fossil Free Sweden and Roadmaps towards Net-Zero Emissions

How can transition increase competitiveness?

In 2015 the Swedish Government committed to the Paris agreement with the ambition to become one of the first fossil free welfare nations in the world. Fossil Free Sweden was established shortly after, with the aim to accelerate the climate transition and to create a strong industrial sector, more jobs and export opportunities, whilst going fossil free. A very important part was the 22 roadmaps created, owned and run by industries themselves, who have set more competitive goals for themselves than the goal set by the Swedish Government.

The idea to present a webinar about Fossil Free Sweden came up during a (SACC) Sustainability Committee meeting. This dynamic and progressive sustainability group, with representatives from a broad range of Swedish companies and business organizations, wanted to hear more about the work of Fossil Free Sweden. They wanted to learn all about the bottom up approach towards net zero for the industry in Sweden with a hope to inform and inspire change in Australia.

Under a Team Sweden flag, the Embassy of Sweden and the Swedish Australian Chamber of Commerce together with Fossil Free Sweden presented on the 7 September webinar:

” Roadmaps for Fossil Free Competitiveness – Challenges and Opportunities Towards Net Zero Emissions”.

Fossil Free Sweden and the Roadmaps were introduced to a broad Australian audience that joined, listened and contributed with many great questions in the Q&A discussion.

The engagement was an important aspect, we wanted to create a rapid and flowing conversation and we had the pleasure to invite David Leitch, principal, ITK Services Australia and author at RenewEconomy, to moderate the discussion. With his deep knowledge of renewable energy and economics, he applied an Australian angle, skillfully layered the conversation to cover many angles and questions on decarbonization and introduced Fossil Free Sweden to Australia.

H.E Henrik Cederin, Swedish Ambassador to Australia opened and welcomed the audience to the webinar. Delivering a strong message; “The need we face, to speed up the transition from the dependence of fossil fuel to create a society and economies that run on renewable energy. We now have a critical decade ahead of us”

Svante Axelsson, National Coordinator then set the scene of the current situation in Sweden regarding CO2 emissions per capita, energy mix and emissions by industries. Inspiring, with a positive message that industry can set the tone with the right narrative and a can-do-mentality. He instils confidence in leaders and decision makers to be brave and make the right decisions. The big surprise has been that industry has seen the possibilities and now talk about how they can increase their competitiveness by being fossil free. The success of the roadmaps lies in that the industry sectors own their own roadmaps and together, create a needed interface between industry and politicians in suggesting how to remove obstacles to accelerate the transition.

The voice from industry and the 22 roadmaps would be pivotal to our discussion so two roadmap representatives were invited to our webinar. Marianne Hedberg, Swedish Construction Federation, representative of The Construction and Civil Engineering Sector Roadmap and Ellen Einebrant, from the Swedish Recycling Industries, representative of The Recycling Sector roadmap were integral to a layered conversation.

Marianne Hedberg told us that the construction sector’s largest challenge is how to decarbonize, in particular, the largely used material cement. There are ways for the sector to lower their emissions, for example, by adding fillers to cement that does not add carbon emission and by investing in carbon storage/capture. To reduce the climate impact of materials and a building as a whole is important, a climate calculation for every new building will be introduced at the end of the year.

Ellen Einebrant spoke about the Swedish Recycling Industries and that they represent private recycling companies, which cover about 80% of the sector and handle 10 MTons of waste and recycled material. The sector works to increase recycling and resource efficiency, still its main challenge is how to reduce their emissions, where the biggest emitter is landfill. The recycling roadmap has made a call to politicians to introduce a methane capture requirement.

The interface between government and business is important to create adequate policy and procurement. The next, and a very important, step is to provide the infrastructure so that it will be possible to phase out fossil fuels. Today we have an industry that is dependent on fossil fuel, that currently cannot use electricity or hydrogen widely. Therefore, we need interim solutions, like biofuel instead of fossil fuels, in order to strengthen the value chains and enter into this new industrial revolution.

Together, the Embassy of Sweden, the Swedish Australian Chamber of Commerce, its Members and the SACC Sustainability Committee are important Ambassadors, representing change, informing of great examples, sharing best practices and solutions for a faster transition.


VIEW THE ONLINE RECORDING HERE: Roadmaps for Fossil Free Competitiveness – Webinar 7 September 2021 – YouTube