Sweden has unique qualifications to become the world’s first fossil-free welfare country. Seven Riksdag parties have jointly agreed to the common climate objective for Sweden to be climate-neutral by 2045, and 13 industrial sectors have now developed roadmaps for fossil-free competitiveness. With more roadmaps to be presented shortly.
“Fossil Free Sweden 2045 is a unique and extremely important initiative,” says Markus Norström, RISE business area manager for Energy and Bio-based Economy.
Fossil Free Sweden started as an initiative by the government ahead of the climate summit in Paris in 2015 with the aim of Sweden becoming one of the first fossil-free welfare countries in the world. Not just because it’s possible, but also because it’s economically viable. Today the initiative brings together over 400 companies, municipalities, cities, organisations, institutions and networks who all share the view that the world needs to become fossil-free and that Sweden should be leading the way.
A large proportion of the work is down to the business community
A transformation of the whole of society is required and a large proportion of the practical work to achieve our objective, a fossil-free Sweden by 2045, rests with the business community. Fossil Free Sweden has therefore taken the initiative and 13 different sectors have now developed their own roadmaps for how they aim to become fossil-free. And spring 2020 will see several more such roadmaps being presented.
“The fact that it is the sectors themselves that have formulated and are now pursuing the roadmaps and that this is not being dictated from above bodes well for achieving our objectives,” says Markus.
RISE involved in development
As a result of the fact that the sectors have taken it upon themselves to develop the roadmaps, they all differ from one another. The roadmap for the digitalisation consultancy sector, for example, is aimed at how to help other sectors towards independence from fossil-based resources, unlike other sectors’ roadmaps, which focus more on how to become fossil-free themselves. RISE has been involved in the development of several of the roadmaps: in some instances as a technical adviser, and in several cases also as a process manager. One of the roadmaps for which RISE has been involved in process management is the roadmap for the mining and mineral sector.
– “Sweden is now on the starting block for beginning to implement the 13 roadmaps and this is where the hard work starts. The roadmaps provide a good foundation, but there are bound to be challenges when it comes to actually putting things into action. It’s a complex system with numerous players who need to keep in step,” says Markus.
What we have created in Sweden is unique
Teamwork between state and industry
Teamwork between state and industry is required in order to implement the roadmaps.
– “We are currently seeing a number of challenges and obstacles to the transition process. These include permit processes that are taking far too long, regulations that need to be reviewed and the need for incentives for what we want to see more of and taxing of what we want to do away with. Fossil Free Sweden therefore compiled a suggestion list at the end of 2019 of 27 points intended to make it easier for companies to implement the roadmaps. The list clearly shows the challenges we face and that companies cannot successfully tackle the transition without the state providing the right means. Quite simply, teamwork between state and industry is required,” says Markus.
Many of the challenges crop up in several of the roadmaps. The most effective approach would be to jointly address these common challenges between the different roadmaps
– “Some of the common challenges include funding and risk-sharing models, digitalisation, CCS (carbon capture and storage) and energy and hydrogen issues. By coming up with solutions to these common challenges, more sectors can move forward in implementing their roadmaps,” explains Markus.
More roadmaps are due to be presented in spring 2020.
– “More sectors are currently working on their roadmaps in order to present them in spring 2020. Two of the most essential of these roadmaps, in my opinion, are the roadmaps for the energy industry and the fuel industry,” he says.
Unique initiative in Sweden
It’s a unique achievement that Fossil Free Sweden has brought together the state and the various sectors for discussions. The initiative is accumulating knowledge and fuelling the will to act among the various sectors of society and aims to publicise the climate work taking place throughout the country.
– “What we have created in Sweden is unique and I feel that we have extremely good prerequisites for accelerating the transition needed by the planet. Helping to implement these roadmaps is totally in keeping with RISE’s mandate and we will do all we can to support the processes,” concludes Markus.