How Sweden’s top business leaders accelerate towards sustainability

Two rows of people lined up for a group picture. The individuals are all participants of the Executive programme in resilience thinking.

A new book blends the latest research insights on global change with a series of interviews with influential Swedish CEOs and board members who have completed Stockholm Resilience Centre's executive programme on resilience thinking. Pictured are the participants from the 2019/20 class. Photo: M. Sparréus/Azote

In 2018 the centre launched an executive programme in resilience thinking. A new book provides insights into what some of Sweden's most influential CEOs and board members learned from the programme

Story highlights

• The new book is written by the executive programme’s director Lisen Schultz in collaboration with climate journalist Erica Treijs

• Just as the programme, the book provides strategic insights from the latest science on global change, planetary boundaries and resilience thinking

• It also offers insights from some of Sweden’s most influential CEOs and board members and their work to create long-term sustainable business value

LESSONS LEARNED: The executive programme in resilience thinking was launched in 2018 by the Stockholm Resilience Centre in collaboration with the Pontus Schultz Foundation. It has since then attracted a number of the most influential and committed senior executives and board members in Sweden.

Centre researcher Lisen Schultz, programme director and founder of the Pontus Schultz Foundation, has released a book based on the programme. The book, which is in Swedish and called Kursen – tio lektioner för ett hållbart näringsliv (The Course – Ten Lessons for a Sustainable Business), is written in collaboration with climate and science journalist Erica Treijs.

Identifying opportunities

The book blends the latest research insights on global change with a series of interviews with influential Swedish CEOs and board members on how they work to accelerate the transformation to sustainability.

It is intended for anyone interested in the business community who wants to gain strategic insights from the latest sustainability science and learn how to identify opportunities for their companies to thrive by contributing to a prosperous planet.

We are seeing more and more signs that companies that were previously often seen as the root of the problem are now part of the solution. The power of this shift is the focus of the book.

Lisen Schultz, lead author

Deeper insight

The owners, CEOs and investors who appear in the book include Henrik Henriksson, former CEO of Scania, Marcus Wallenberg, Chair of SEB, Niklas Zennström, founder of the technology investment firm Atomico, Caroline Berg, Chair of Axel Johnson, and Eva Karlsson, CEO of Houdini Sportswear.

CEO of H2 Green Steel, Henrik Henriksson, alumni of the Executive programme and former CEO of Scania says: "Integrating sustainability into the core of your company's purpose, strategy and operations is central, if you want to stay relevant to your customers, investors and employees. The course gave me a deeper insight into the challenges we face, but also the pathways forward."

Forewords are written by Börje Ekholm, CEO of Ericsson, and Carl Folke.

"Everyone, including companies, need to participate in solving the challenges of humanity", says Börje Ekholm, CEO of Ericsson, which has set science-based targets and engaged as a lead partner of the Exponential roadmap initiative.

This book guides the reader through the latest research, helps everyone identify their own contribution to the sustainability transformation, and illustrates that many of us are now pulling in the same direction.

Börje Ekholm, CEO of Ericsson

A critical juncture

Former centre director Johan Rockström was instrumental in the development of the programme and has also been one of its most appreciated lecturers. He sees the book as an important and timely milestone, both for the centre and the uptake of its research in society:

“The book gives more people access to the same science-based knowledge as several of Sweden's most influential CEOs have already acquired, and it happens at a critical juncture when we need all hands-on deck to transform our societies in time”.

Centre chair and founder Carl Folke, another key contributor to the executive programme, agrees:

“It is really exciting to see a book that so concretely shows how resilience thinking can help us navigate complex challenges – it's not just about climate change, but also about the future of humans in the biosphere, the only place in the universe where we know life exists.”

Other experts featured in the book and the executive programme include Oxford economist Kate Raworth and Nigel Topping, UK’s High-level climate action champion.

Read more about the book here

Svensk sammanfattning

Centrets executive-program för näringslivets toppar blir bok

Boken Kursen – tio lektioner för ett hållbart näringsliv av Lisen Schultz och Erica Treijs bygger på det executive-program som Stockholm Resilience Centre och Pontus Schultz-stiftelsen erbjudit några av de mest inflytelserika företagsledarna sedan 2018.

Tillsammans omsätter kursdeltagarnas bolag nära hälften av Sveriges BNP, sysselsätter hundratusentals människor och når miljontals kunder världen över.

Boken sammanfattar lärdomarna från executive-programmet i tio kapitel (”lektioner”), där föreläsare som Carl Folke, Johan Rockström, Kate Raworth och Nigel Topping berättar både om de stora utmaningar vi står inför och hur vi kan ta oss an dem.

Boken ger även genom intervjuer (”kvartssamtal”) en unik inblick i hur företagsledare som Henrik Henriksson, tidigare Scania, Marcus Wallenberg, SEB, Eva Karlsson, Houdini, och Caroline Berg, Axel Johnson, resonerar kring det skifte vi alla står inför. Går det att hitta lösningar som ger både lönsamhet – och hållbarhet?

Lisen Schultz är programansvarig för executive-programmet och forskningsledare vid Stockholm Resilience Centre samt grundare av Pontus Schultz Stiftelse för ett mänskligare näringsliv.

Erica Treijs är klimatreporter på Svenska Dagbladet och har lång erfarenhet som journalist med inriktning på miljö- och klimatfrågor.

Pontus Schultz var Lisens make som förolyckades 2012. Han var bland annat journalist och entreprenör, samt chefredaktör för Veckans Affärer.

Läsa mer om boken här

Published: 2021-09-03

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