With interest in ethical investing on the rise, more consumers are becoming conscious of where their money goes and the causes they support. While investors are now being presented with a range of ethical investment options, there is one city that has long reigned supreme in its bid for sustainability: Stockholm. Stockholm is not only known for its latest fashion trends and its thriving music scene. Stockholm-based companies continue to dominate the RobecoSAM Sustainability Rankings year after year, with Electrolux, H&M, and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken all grabbing a spot on the list in recent years. It is not just the corporate world that is embracing sustainability and ethics either. For the city’s own operations, 100 percent of the electricity comes from renewable sources and 96 percent of its hotels hold environmental certifications. It is not just sustainability that is on their agenda either. Here are a few ethical investment areas in Stockholm it is worth keeping an eye on.
The Promotion Of Gender Equality
In 2020, the Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum placed Sweden fourth out of 153 countries. Dating back as far as 2018, some of Stockholm’s most well-known companies pledged their support of gender equality in the workplace. Since then, Stockholm-based employers have updated their parental leave and childcare policies, launched initiatives to encourage female-friendly organizations, and increased the access that women had to knowledge and resources both in and out of the workplace.
One good example is the sharing of parental leave between both parents. According to Stockholm’s parental leave guidelines, 90 days of parental leave out of the allotted 480 days is reserved for each parent. Employers like Tele2 also implement their own gender equality measures such as a redesigned recruitment process aimed at hiring more female employees. Investing in companies that have diversity and gender equality strategies in place ticks an important box in ethical investment: social responsibility.
Protecting Human And Labour Rights
Socially responsible investing also includes considering a company’s commitment to human and labor rights. In Stockholm, private businesses are encouraged to follow established human rights guidelines such as the United Nation’s Principle On Business and Human Rights. However, it has been the individual approaches by businesses that continue to shine when it comes to ethical investments.
One popular example is the fashion giant, H&M’s fair living wage strategy which was launched in 2013. Fashion companies are not the only sector moving to protect human rights either. More banking institutions are taking an ethical offering investment option that aligns with more conscious personal values such as stock funds that avoid financing firearm companies or that specifically fund environmental sustainability initiatives. With such a great demand for ethical investment, more banks like Handelsbanken and Swedbank commonly offer ethical investment funds for both consumers and individuals – making it a great location to kickstart your ethical investments.
Implementing Anti-Corruption Policies
Lastly, the city of Stockholm is also working hard to address corruption. In addition to state legislation on bribery, fraud and money laundering, companies have moved to implement their own anti-corruption and transparency policies. Stockholm-based telecommunications company Ericsson recently revealed enhancements to its Ethics and Compliance program including additional dedicated resources for fraud investigations and compliance training for employees in facing roles. Other companies such as Ikea also have their own code of conduct in place that includes a strict non-tolerance policy on corruption and illegal activities. Local capital management firms like Proventus Capital Management also have their own ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) assessment criteria used in investment assessments, along with their own internal Code of Code.
With the city of Stockholm leading in so many areas of ethical, social, and sustainable progress, there are ample opportunities for investors looking for their next ethical investment. Teaming with businesses across industries such as tech, finance, and manufacturing there is one common thread that is running through their operations: ethics remains a priority.