Sustainability the Nordic Way

November 2021

Sustainability is high on the agenda among Nordic consumers which has led to local businesses investing resources into acting in a sustainable fashion. Collaboration, innovation and resource consciousness among businesses are some tools that have been used by both start-ups as well as larger companies in an effort to adhere to consumers’ wishes to have options for engaging in environmentally-conscious consumption patterns.

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Key Takeaways

Nordic sustainability: With the highest per capita market size for sustainable living, and ranking the highest in the environmental sustainability index, Nordic countries are leading the way in environmental policies and business leadership. However, compared to other Europeans, Nordic consumers are less concerned about environmental issues such as climate change. Fortunately, lower concerns do not translate into lower action.

Collaboration to share costs and risk has been a successful part of tackling the sustainability challenge for Nordic companies. Particularly important for larger companies taking on large-scale initiatives and investments.

Resource consciousness and waste reduction have and continue to play a central role both in innovation and behaviour shifts through attention on waste reduction and alternative resources.

Supplying both companies and consumers with tools to make informed choices is key to create a cohesive society moving towards a common goal of becoming more sustainable.

Start-ups and large players and government actors are all able to provide solutions through innovation and collaboration. An inclusive business environment where different types of players can part take is needed to maintain momentum.

Introduction

Scope
Key takeaways

Broad Collaborations Unlock Sustainability Solutions

Collaboration between leading companies in Nordic region spurs innovation
The Nordic region homes behemoths willing to take charge
Collaboration is high on the agenda for big Nordic players
Public and private Nordic appetite for sustainable innovation

Nordic Companies Built Around Sustainability Issues

Corporate sustainability initiatives not reflected in domestic consumption
The Swedish case: compliance among SMEs, not competitive advantage
The Nordic answer to sustainability inertia is to simplify the hurdles
Need-focused companies simplifying sustainability hurdles for businesses
Scepticism around environmental impact also present among consumers
Companies enabling environmental consumer-consciousness

Businesses Focusing on Resource Minimisation

Renting and second-hand - a way into a circular mindset
Circular economy mindset is yet to develop in Europe
Nordic consumers are European leaders in circular consumption
Renting leading to massive emissions savings
Attracting a younger audience to second-hand platforms
Traditional companies adopting a sustainable mindset

Future Steps: A Cost-Efficient Sustainability Transition

Consumers do not expect to pay a sustainability premium
Carbon footprint tracking to understand environmental cost of prodcuts
Sustainability solutions as part of the business model
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