It might come as a surprise to some but, as a matter of fact, I and my Team Sweden China colleagues have been quite busy over the last five months. Admittedly, to a lesser extent with our regular kind of activities but busy, nevertheless.
The Embassy assisted departures from Wuhan back in February and since then we have assisted with purchases and transports of medical and protective equipment. We are well aware of the growing need for key-personnel and others currently stranded outside of China unable to return.
At the embassy, we have continued to cover the development in China and Mongolia, including the “two sessions” (the Chinese People’s Political Advisory Conference and the National People’s Congress). We have strengthened our digital promotion and other communication, our embassy Weibo and Healthy Sweden Weibo accounts have been busier than ever before, intensive cooperation has been going on regarding climate issues, new projects been launched regarding microplastics (reported below), etc.
Finally, also “in real life” events are finding their way back into our busy schedules. I had myself the pleasure to host the Beijing part of the dual health and life sciences themed CEO breakfast in May, and an ECO City Alliance event just the other day (both reported below). The latter is a prequel to the alliance’s Chengdu trip, which will be more closely covered in an upcoming newsletter issue. Last week saw Swedish cultural promotion events on site both in Xiamen and Kunming, to be covered in next issue. Finally, two CSR forums will be held with partners physically in Beijing in July and a toolkit about sustainable supply chain is expected to be launched in August.
It promises to be a busy autumn as well, possibly filled with previously postponed activities and, hopefully, also some pleasant surprises…!
On June 9th, a commemoration and signing ceremony was arranged by Business Sweden and the Swedish Embassy in Beijing to celebrate and discuss how Swedish companies work in China to promote and develop sustainable cities & buildings. Ambassador Helena Sångeland and Counsellor Lennart Nilsson hosted the presentation and together with White Peak CEO highlighted the Hammarby Eco City project in Yantai and the Eco City Alliance as a model for facilitating cooperation.
The Hammarby Eco City project in Yantai is a concrete model of sustainable solutions from Swedish companies implemented in China, and at the event White Peak signed purchasing agreements with ABB, Assa Abloy, Envac and IKEA for purchases to the project, totaling over 100 mRMB.
The event ended with panel discussion moderated by Counsellor Lennart Nilsson, where IKEA Commercial VP Freda Zhang, ABB Managing director China Zhiqiang Zhang, & White Peak CEO Jesper Jos Olsson shared how they work to contribute to sustainable development in China.
The purpose of the Toolkit is to support the CSR and sustainability work of Swedish companies, especially SMEs, and their business partners along supply chains. It provides up-to-date Chinese legal and regulatory requirements on environmental protection, working conditions, occupational safety and ethical business. Also, OECD guidelines on due diligence are introduced as a step-by-step tool for risk management. The first version of the Toolkit was launched in 2014. It has now been significantly updated jointly by the CSR Centre, Business Sweden and China National Textile and Apparel Council. It will be launched in August.
H&M and IKEA, since a long time ago, engaged in sustainable production and consumption of textile products. Given the increasing environmental and health impacts, prevention and reduction of microplastics emissions are our new focus for environment cooperation with China. With the financial support from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdverket), Sweden launched the first microplastics project with China in February.
The project is led by the Swedish Environment Institute (IVL), engaging the best research groups from Sweden and in China as well as the key institutes under the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. From the industrial side, China Textile Information Centre (CTIC) has engaged many industrial partners and stakeholders and is preparing for the future work, having Asia’s largest textile producers as polit sites. CTIC has already reached out to H&M and we hope to see more interest and engagement from Swedish companies in this project.
The Consulate General launched the “Eat Smart Challenge”, a food sustainability campaign based on a toolkit by the Swedish Institute (Si), in Shanghai on May 17. The launch event, taking the form of an interactive offline dinner with around 10 journalists and bloggers, was live streamed online. The streaming received nearly 2.7 million views. The campaign went on from May 22 to May 28 on Wechat and attracted 70 Chinese participants. Besides Si, the event was supported by local partners BottleDream and GoZeroWaste.
On May 14 the Consulate General and Business Sweden’s (BuS) investment promotion team made a joint visit to Jiangsu province. The purpose of the visit was to meet with the top management of the Chinese companies KDL and Senior. The Swedish delegation was led by Consul General Lisette Lindahl and the head of investment promotion in the APAC region Jaani Heinonen.
Both KDL and Senior are operating within different segments of the battery industry and have recently entered into agreements with the Swedish company Northvolt. Several questions were discussed during the visit, ranging from visa applications and residence permits to the Swedish housing market and uncertainty for global investments due to the coronavirus covid-19. Both KDL and Senior are planning to set up operations in Sweden during the coming years.
Sweden Hong Kong Sustainable Fashion Days kicked off on 26 May with two SWEDTalks (webinars) and an exhibition, Fashion Revolution – the future of textiles, from the Swedish Institute. The exhibition ran until 11 June. The themes for the two SWEDTalks were innovative materials featuring speakers from H&M Foundation, RISE, Re:newcell, HKRITA and Unspun, and Sustainability from A to Z with speakers from GANT, H&M, WWF, A good company, HOP LUN, Fashion Clinic and G for Good. The SWEDTalks had around 600 registered participants. The whole event was held at the Mills, which is an old renovated textile factory in Hong Kong with a focus on innovation, design and creativity.
The Sustainable Fashion Days is a project that will continue for the rest of the year and is organised by the Consulate General of Sweden in Hong Kong together with SwedCham Hong Kong and with Hong Kong Design Centre and Fashion Asia Hong Kong as strategic partners.
Visit Sweden released a series of video clips with the purpose of not only continuing to inspire but also telling the travellers to stay safe wherever you are and come back when the time is right. The series include four clips featuring general Sweden, urban adventure, food and nature.
With the support from SEB, this high profile webinar was organized by SwedCham China and in cooperation with 11 other Swedish Chambers in APAC. Speakers were Minister of Foreign Trade Anna Hallberg and Carl-Henric Svanberg, Chairman of Volvo Group. The focus of the webinar was on Swedish Trade policies and Businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The concept of offering high profile webinars organized by the Swedish Chamber of Commerces in APAC is new, and after this successful first time we are already planning many more in the months to come. Next in line is with Klas Eklund as speaker. so stay tuned!
Our next issue coming out in July, will be with Tom Grimmer, Senior Partner at Kreab China and will be interviewed by our Area Manager Beijing, Jaycee Yang.
As the immense unpredictable global impact of Covid-19 became evident, Business Sweden decided to use our global network of colleagues with deep local insights to give a consolidated, frequently updated picture of the key developments.
This information received overwhelming positive feedback from business leaders, business leaders appreciate this frequent view to inform quick decision making and the format gives top executives a global overview on key developments vital to Swedish businesses.
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The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted global supply chains, accelerated ongoing changes in the business environment and keeps bringing uncertainty. Business Sweden has thus focused intensively the recent months in China and globally to both help companies address urgent problems in their supply chains and help them adapt long term strategies. The team has worked on a number of cases where quick resolution has mitigated impact of disruptions in Sweden. These learnings and analysis have been shared in a number of webinars, focusing on topics such as “Re-starting production”, “Diversifying supply chains across APAC” and “China’s belt and road creating new supply routes”.
June/July: Live streaming: A Swedish Tour in Shanghai
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