The Global Compact continued to expand its activities in Sweden, convening a meeting earlier this month organized by Prime Minister Goran Persson and his country's ministers for Foreign Affairs, Trade, and International Development Cooperation. They joined 90 leaders of Sweden's business community, civil society, academe, and labour organizations to discuss the Swedish Partnership for Global Responsibility, an initiative created to advance support for the United Nations Global Compact and the OECD guidelines for multinational companies.
"The debate on corporate social responsibility is becoming increasingly intense," the ministers explained in an open letter to Swedish business executives. "It is gratifying to see that Sweden's corporate community has played an active role in the efforts to realize a sound environment and good working conditions. It benefits both Sweden and the world. It is our ambition that Sweden should influence international developments by taking action faster and more forcefully than other countries." The communication was issued by Anna Lindh, the Minister for Foreign Affairs; Leif Pagrosky, the Minister for Trade; and Jan O. Karlsson, the Minister for International Development Cooperation. All three government officials spoke at the conference, which was held in Stockholm on 7 March.
The conference also included a briefing on Global Compact activities delivered by Frederick Dubee and discussion of partnership projects identified as priorities by Swedish business executives. They include programs to enhance diversity in the workplace, to expand ethical corporate governance, and to promote sustainable economic development in Africa.
At the conclusion of the conference Prime Minister Persson asked Sweden's business and government leaders to work together in support of the UN's World Summit on Sustainable Development, scheduled to meet next summer in Johannesburg, South Africa.