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Pune: Swedish delegation calls for continued engagement in sustainability, innovation

Pune has been a major hub for Swedish companies in India since the 1960s. The Swedish business presence in Pune is broad in sectors of manufacturing, information and communication technology, services, sales and distribution.

A delegation from the Embassy of Sweden in Delhi, Consulate General of Sweden in Mumbai, Swedish Chamber of Commerce in India (SCCI), Business Sweden (BS) are in Pune to meet local stakeholders for continued engagement in the Swedish sectors of expertise — sustainability and innovation.

The Office of Science and Innovation (OSI) based at the embassy in Delhi is also meeting with the Pune Knowledge Cluster to explore collaboration between Swedish and Indian science and technology clusters.

Pune has been a major hub for Swedish companies in India since the 1960s. Of the 108 Swedish companies in Maharashtra, most have their presence in Pune and around 36 are headquartered in the city. The Swedish business presence in Pune is broad in sectors of manufacturing, information and communication technology, services, sales and distribution.

At the event on Tuesday, an ‘Environmental Sustainability Mapping Study’ of 18 Swedish companies was commissioned by the Consulate General of Sweden in Mumbai and the Swedish Chamber of Commerce India (SCCI) in association with Centre for Environmental Research and Education (CERE).

Anna Lekvall, Consul General of Sweden in Mumbai, said: “The green transition and climate action are a high priority for Sweden and it is encouraging that the local Swedish companies are exhibiting leadership and commitment toward sustainability. This first-of-its-kind sustainability mapping study of Swedish companies in Maharashtra and Gujarat will further support and strengthen cooperation going forward.”

The three-month qualitative and quantitative study aims to map the sustainability initiatives of the local Swedish companies’ in western India, their green transition agenda, highlight their best practices, identify challenges, provide solutions and further strengthen collaborations for sustainability through Sweden-India platforms. Of these companies, 70 per cent fall within the manufacturing sector.

The study highlighted how Swedish companies in western India have been actively promoting sustainability and demonstrating leadership in environmental stewardship with initiatives such as switching to renewable energy and electric mobility, implementing energy efficiency, investing in green buildings, promoting water conservation and integrating a green transition across value chains. The study also recognized and analysed the challenges the companies face in their green transition endeavour and provided recommendations to boost sustainability efforts within internal practices and stakeholder engagements.

Sara Larsson, head of Swedish Chamber of Commerce in India (SCCI), said: “Working together on environmental sustainability can increase learning, enable local solutions, and ramp up the transition process. As next steps, Team Sweden aims to promote knowledge exchange, capacity building and collaborative approach around environmental sustainability between companies, academia and research institutions.”

Larsson said: Since 2018, Swedish companies in Pune have had a long-term cooperation for strengthening women in workforce under the ‘Kraftsamla’ initiative, a strategic project under the aegis of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce India, in collaboration with the Embassy of Sweden in Delhi and Consulate General of Sweden in Mumbai, in line with the Swedish feminist foreign policy. Kraftsamla in Swedish means to ‘join forces’ and is a wonderful opportunity to promote gender equality in the workforce.”

Larsson added: “Sustainability and Innovation are high on agenda for both countries since a Joint Action Plan was signed in 2018 encouraging strong collaborations in smart cities, green energy transition, waste management, clean water, sustainable transport and environment.”

In 2019, both countries launched a leadership group on industry transition (LeadIT) for lowering CO2 emissions in heavy industries and building a fossil-free future. Sweden strengthened this partnership in March 2021 by participating in the Indian Sweden Innovation Accelerator (ISIA) that endorses clean energy, sustainable environment and public transport. Additionally, the Swedish industry contributes to India’s development in areas of green energy, innovation, ICT, digitalisation, sustainable transport, clean air, recyclable products, health and life sciences, the delegates said.

According to Ambassador Klas Molin, during the recent trade and investment roadshow in Sweden titled ‘Time for India’, team Sweden along with India’s Ambassador to Sweden Tanmay Lal highlighted many opportunities available for Swedish companies in India and for Indian companies in Sweden to representatives of the private sector, government and other decisions makers to discuss trade and investment.

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