Swedish construction firms move to meet sustainability targets

Twenty leading Swedish construction firms and three councils have pledged to end their use of fossil fuels for building and heating new homes within five years.

The construction industry’s ‘build/live’ initiative, announced on 12 December, focuses on achieving energy solutions. Another group of 16 companies, the future retail group, operating in the retailing, food and IT sectors, has promised to halve its overall use of freight transport also within five years. Pilot projects will co-ordinate manufacturer-to-retailer freight transport, particularly of goods ordered via the internet.

The two initiatives result from dialogues between the sectoral groups and the Swedish Environmental Advisory Council (EAC). Established in 1968, EAC advises the Government on environmental issues. It carries out direct governmental assignments, initiates tasks and tests new working methods for working with environmental issues. EAC’s 93-point plan lists actions for all sectors to take towards sustainable development.

The companies’ commitment marks a vital step towards further voluntary sustainability agreements between industry and government, according to Maria Delvin of the EAC.

In September 1997 Sweden’s Prime Minister pledged to resolve all the country’s major environmental problems within one generation. His announcement followed the government decision to invest large sums of money over three years in projects to promote sustainable development. Announcing this, Swedish PM Göran Persson, said the country would continue to “adapt to ecological sustainability”. “Our goal is to be able to hand over to the next generation a world in which the major environmental problems have been solved,” he said.

The Swedish Environmental Advisory Council is arranging an international conference on Strategies for sustainable development in Stockholm on the 23rd of February 2001. The conference is arranged on behalf of EEAC, the European Environmental Advisory Councils.

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