Swedfund’s Strategic Sustainability Goals

Swedfund’s four strategic sustainability goals are based on our mission - poverty reduction.

Sweden’s former Minister for Financial Markets, Peter Norman, stated clearly in 2012 that government owned businesses shall define (2012), establish (2013) and begin to follow up (2014) strategic goals for sustainable business.

Sustainability, in a broader sense, is at the core of Swedfund’s business and our raison d’être. Through investments in financially sound businesses which are sustainably operated from an environmental and social perspective, our portfolio companies contribute to a reduction in poverty resulting in long-term, sustainable community development. Thus, the strategic sustainability goals presented below are rooted in Swedfund’s mission and in the three pillars which, together, measure how well we achieve our goal of poverty reduction through sustainable business.

The number of strategic sustainability goals and related indicators are few, in accordance with the directives issued by the Minister for Financial Markets. However, it is vitally important to keep in mind that, in managing investments, Swedfund employs a wide range of indicators and the suggested sustainability goals should therefore be viewed as a selective rather than a comprehensive list of our sustainability efforts.

Swedfund has developed the following strategic sustainability goals for its business:

1. Community development – goal formulation:  Swedfund shall contribute to the creation of jobs with good working environments and good working conditions.

a. Indicator: Compliance with ILO Core Conventions and the ILO Basic Terms and Conditions of Employment as well as an increase in the number of jobs in Swedfund’s portfolio companies. [1]
b. Target: Compliance with ILO’s Core Conventions shall be achieved in every company within three years of the date of funding. On average, for Swedfund’s investments as a whole, the number of jobs should increase each year.

2. Sustainability – goal formulation:  Swedfund shall contribute to the creation of businesses with  long-term sustainability in the world’s poorest countries.[2]

a. Indicator: Implementation of management systems for sustainability issues in all portfolio companies as well as in Swedfund itself, including where relevant, environmental and social issues, and, for all companies, corporate governance. [3]
b. Target: Implementation for every company shall be completed within three years from the date of funding.

3.  Financial viability – goal formulation: Swedfund shall contribute to long-term profitability and thus financially sustainable companies in the world’s poorest countries.

a. Indicator: Return on equity.
b. Target: The average return on equity before tax should exceed the average government bond yield with one-year maturity. The return shall be measured over rolling seven year time periods.

4.  Corruption – goal formulation: Swedfund shall conduct active anti-corruption efforts both internally and in its portfolio companies.

a. Indicator: Adoption and implementation of management systems to handle corruption issues both internally and in portfolio companies.
b. Target: Adoption and implementation of management systems to handle corruption issues shall be in place in Swedfund in 2014 and within three years of the date of funding for Swedfund’s portfolio companies.


[1] ILO Core Conventions refers to the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87), Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention , 1949 (No. 98), the Forced Labour Convention , 1930 (No. 29) , Abolition of Forced Labour Convention , 1957 (No. 105) , Minimum Age Convention , 1973 (No. 138) , Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention , 1999 (No. 182) , the Equal Remuneration Convention , 1951 (No. 100); and the Discrimination ( Employment and Occupation) Convention , 1958 (No. 111). ILO Basic Terms and Conditions of Employment refers Hours of Work (No. 1) Minimum Wage (No. 26 , 131) and Occupational Safety and Health (No. 155).  In those countries that have not ratified the ILO Core Conventions, special assessments will be made.
[2] Swedfund, in accordance with its Owner’s Instructions section 1f) invests in countries that qualify for development funding under the OECD / DAC definition. Investments in low-income countries and post – conflict countries should be prioritized. Link to the Owner’s Instructions
Link to the OECD / DAC-list 
[3] The following definition of the key components of sustainability systems is the definition used in the IFC Performance Standard 1.

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