It is Friday morning in Visby. For me it is the last day here at the political summit in Almedalen.
My reflections on seminars and discussions from the previous days of the "Almedalen week" can be found via this links:
So, let me first give some general reflections on this week and then comment on some of the seminars seminars from yesterday (i.e. Thursday July 7).
It has been a hectic week, with an enormous amount of different seminars to visit. In total around 1500 events... How do you manage to find the golden eggs in such a big basket? A whole range of seminars has been related to environmental and social responsibility issues, and there has also been a number of healthcare and illness prevention related ones. Hence, really good possibilities for me to become educated and stimulated!
I have had my son Christoffer with me during the week and for him it is like "democracy school". Where would you be able to see and participate in so many interactions between all different stakeholders in society, e.g. politicians, NGOs, industry representatives etc.? But if you read his blog, you will notice that he has not been fully focused on the things on-going here in Almedalen...
Perhaps the most important thing I bring back from the CSR and environmentally related seminars is some kind of consensus from most stakeholders that regulatory initiatives must be supplemented with market-driven types of solutions. One example of such market-driven ideas are the green incentives I speak about in the video blog I recorded this week.
You will find this video blog, and other Pfizer video blogs from Almedalen, at pfizer.se as well.
I am also happy to see that health related issues have been widely discussed during the week. Large parts of these discussions have been upon prevention of illnesses and promotion of health and wellbeing. If you have followed my blog, you know I feel strongly about the need for more focus on prevention and on health promotion. To me that is an important first step to reach a long term sustainable use of pharmaceuticals. Read more via this link.
So, in more details what happened in Almedalen yesterday? The first seminar I visited yesterday, "CSR - samhällsansvar med många vinnare" was arranged by Fryshuset and CSR Sweden. Ingvar Nilsson gave an introduction where he pointed out the necessity of actions being undertaken in order to stop kids from ending up "outside" the society. 13000 kids, every year, do not "fit in". The costs for society, in addition to the human tragedies, are huge: 6 billions SEK every year for those kids. Over a life time that sums up to 150 billions SEK. And next year 13000 addition kids will fall ouside of society... To read more about Ingvar's data follow this link.
So what can be done? A panel consisting of representatives from Fryshuset and from some of their industry collaborators, e.g. Stina Billinger from SPP, gave their views. The story to bring home from the discussion is that industry participates in this work not due to "charity reasons", rather due to "survival reasons". Industry needs these kids as future employees or as future partners or customers. And we cannot do business in a society where crime prevails and society institutions break down. Industry is a part of society - hence, industry's CSR initiatives are here to stay! And to be honest - they have always been here, long before the term CSR was born. More on that very soon...
Before the next CSR Sweden seminar, "CSR - behövs piska eller morot" where I was on the panel, I ran over to a seminar arranged by Apoteket AB regarding increased illness among kids: "Vad är orsaken till ökad ohälsa bland barn?". Presentation were given by, among otehrs, Stephan Rössner and Per Gärdsell.
Per presented the "Bunkeflomodellen", stressing the importance of health and wellness promotion. Read more on the model via this link. Although not rocket science actually, it is extremely interesting! And it drives me to once again use my old credo:
…För övrigt anser jag att hälsa bör finnas med på schemat…
Time for the next CSR Sweden seminar asking the question whether CSR-initiatives are best develop via legislation or via incentives - "CSR, behövs piska eller morot".
The panel consisted of politicians, Sofia Arkelsten (m) and Rebecka Carlsson (mp), of Niclas Mattsson from the magazine Entreprenör, and myself, Lars Lööv from Samhall, Stina Bilinger from SPP, and Helena Karlsson from Telge Återvinning representing CSR Sweden member companies.
It became a discussion full of energy, much thanks to, or due to, Nicklas Mattson. He dared to be very provocative, which is perhaps not always "politically correct" but it surely helps energizing the debate... Nicklas argues that CSR is being pushed onto companies by a "CSR-mob", and is a very strong advocate for no regulations what so ever around CSR. CSR should be something driven by the companies themselves, in the interest of the companies, the revenues and the shareholders. As the way this kind of initiatives have always been - long time before they were called CSR-initiatives.
As I said it was an intensive debate and I presume it is fair to summarize that all of us in the panel, perhaps except Nicklas, concluded that there is room for a regulatory framework creating a platform from where companies build their own volontary initiatives. Not very surprising we had somewhat different opinions on the amount of regulations, "how high should the bar be set", but in general a joint understanding.
My key message was once again the importance of incentives to "the good guys". And I argued that if environmental and social responsibility issues are included in tender business for instance, it is of course fair that industry expects that the responses we develop describing our environmental and CSR records should be taken into account. To often I feel that county councils and other public buyers in reality only care about lowest possible prize. To read more about green criteria and green incentives on the pharmaceutical market, see for instance my blog post from March 28 or the video blog recorded July 5.
I then participated in the Pfizer seminar regarding the Swedish national pharmaceutical strategy. Erik Blix led a discussion on the strategy with Christina Åkerman, Director General at Swedish MPA, patients, and politicians. You can read more about this debate at pfizer.se.
My last seminar yesterday was a debate between the party secretaries for Moderaterna and the Social Democrates, Sofia Arkelsten and Carin Jämtin respectively. The debate was based on descriptions of the state of the world, with global warming and other environmental problems. The descriptions were given by Pär Larshans from Max Hamburgers and Pia Stavås Meier from Red Cross.
It was a good discussions where the politicians tried to explain what to expect from politicians and policy and what could not be expected. Both Sofia and Carin felt that their parties and policy in general have an increasing focus on not only environmental issues but on sustainability issues in a broad sense. Of course, a lot more needs to be done to secure the longterm sustainability of our planet, and much is needed on a European and on a global level. Important steps to e taken, but very time consuming. Do we have that time? The panel were in agreement that Sweden as a country and Swedish companies such as Max can and should take the lead and be role models for others. And although you can doubt, based on the failure of the climate meeting in Copenhagen for instance, that countries will come together and take the international initiatives that are needed Carin Jämtin tried to have a positive approach. She said that when the world has been in huge problems, and almost in ruins before, as after World War 2, we did come together and global institutions such as UN and World Bank were established to secure survival. Personally I hope that the world wakes up a little bit earlier this time... Do we really have to see the world in ruins before real actions are taken on an international policy level? Or could perhaps industry's all initiatives around the globe be the kick-start needed for a real change? Let's cross our fingers!
After the talk by the Center party leader Maud Olofsson in Almedalen (read more via this link) the evening ended with MiljöAktuellt's "Environmental party" with a lot of informal meetings and a fun, but rather tough, "question-and-answer" session with politicians.
Two of the politicians on the stage, Roger Tiefensee (c) and Matilda Ernkrans (s), are members of the All Party Committee of Environmental Objectives discussing among other things pharmaceuticals in the environment as part of the NonToxic Environment goal. Read more about this work on my bloig post from June 15, and I am looking forward to continuing the discussions on the topic with Roger, Matilda and their colleagues during fall.
No, now it is time for me to pack my things, start my journey home and leave Almedalen for this year. Thanks to all for a great experience again! I'll be back next year!