Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

In a global perspective, access to transport infrastructure for people and cargo is good in Sweden. The overarching goal of transport policy is to ensure an economically efficient and long-term sustainable transport supply for individuals and the private sector throughout the country. The trend is that transport is bearing its own economic costs to a greater extent than before. Greenhouse gas emissions from domestic transport constitute about a third of the total emissions in Sweden. Domestic emissions from the transport sector have been decreasing for several years, in part through a greater use of biofuels and improved energy efficiency in road traffic. Men drive cars almost 80 per cent more than women, but travel less as car passengers than women. Men also travel by regional public transport just over 10 per cent less than women. Men and women have roughly the same extent of transport on foot or by bicycle.

In 2015, the added value of the manufacturing industry constituted 14.8 per cent of GDP, corresponding to approximately SEK 59 000 per capita. In the same year, the number of people employed in the manufacturing industry was 501 000. With the additional inclusion of suppliers of services and other input goods for industry, it is estimated that one million Swedes are dependent on industry for their employment. The proportion of small and medium-sized enterprises of the manufacturing industry’s added value is calculated to have been 38 per cent in

The indicator for carbon dioxide emissions per unit of added value in the Swedish economy measures carbon dioxide intensity. A decreasing intensity means that emissions per unit produced is decreasing. Since 2010, emission intensity in Sweden has had a decreasing trend. Overall, emissions have decreased at the same time as the economy has grown.

Sweden’s research and development expenditure was SEK 137 billion in 2015, which corresponds to 3.28 per cent of GDP. The private sector accounted for almost 70 per cent, the higher education sector, which is mostly publicly financed, for 27 per cent and the remaining public sector for a further 3 per cent of this amount. Research and development in the private non-profit sector accounted for less than one per cent of the total expenditure.

In 2016, the Government presented an infrastructure bill for 2018-2029, Infrastructure for the future – innovative solutions for strengthened competitiveness and sustainable development16, which in part aims to facilitate the transition to a fossil-free welfare state, more housing construction and better conditions for the private sector. The standard of the railway system is to be improved, and there is to be greater use of new technology such as digitalisation and automation.

The Government has also presented a strategy for new industrialisation – Smart Industry – to help strengthen the capacity of companies for transition and competitiveness at both the national and regional level in areas such as digital development and sustainable production. The Government also has initiated five collaborative programmes to strengthen Sweden’s global innovation and competitiveness and to contribute to a sustainable development and job creation.

The Government has also presented its policy in the area of sustainable business (CSR) in a communication to the Riksdag17. Among other things, this communication contains a guide to sustainable business for companies
operating in and outside Sweden. As of 2016, new rules apply for major companies requiring them to also make an annual sustaianablility report of their operations. The Riksdag has also adopted a decision on more explicit national regulations so that Swedish procurements, both within the country and abroad, will be characterised by sustainability.

Sweden faces several significant challenges. Additional measures will, for example, be needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to continue the development towards a more sustainable industry in all areas. Initiatives also need to be made to give everyone in Sweden access to a reliable and fast broadband. The digital services under development are to be user-friendly so that they do not risk increasing inequality for different groups in society.

Sweden’s development cooperation supports capacity building for higher education and research in low-income countries by focusing on the building of national, sustainable research systems. Sweden also supports research of particular relevance to development in low-income countries. In 2015, the support for infrastructure initiatives in developing countries amounted to approximately SEK 1.43 billion.

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