Svenska Spel

Emma Ihre, Ministry of finance

State-owned companies are managed by the government on behalf of the Swedish people. Emma Ihre is a Special Advisor in sustainable business* at the Ministry of Finance and she sees a clear link between sustainability and value creation.

Why is sustainable business so important for State-owned companies?

"We view it as a prerequisite for creating profitability. The companies that survive in the long term are the ones that understand these matters and integrate them with their business model and risk management. Many of the State companies, such as Svenska Spel, also have a social mandate with a clear association with sustainability that they must ­nurture. Of course, it is self-evident that the companies that are owned by the Swedish people must be responsible and adopt a long-term approach to their business."

What requirements does the Ministry of Finance impose on the State-owned companies?

"A new development this year is that we have tasked the Board with establishing a limited number of strategic sustainability objectives, with a clear association with the business or the mandate. The objectives must be communicated externally and be reviewable, and strategies must be in place on how to they are to be achieved. We will begin re­­viewing the objectives more systematically in 2014. The companies are already required to issue CSR Reports in accordance with the international Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework and adopt a transparent approach, meaning report their risks and opportunities related to sustainable ­business and maintain a dialogue with their stakeholders."

How do you believe that Svenska Spel is performing?

"Svenska Spel holds a key social mandate that is closely associated with sustainable business. The company clearly appears to be committed to the issues, not only on the Board or with the CEO, but throughout the entire company, with a number of ongoing initiatives and a will to advance on and integrate these efforts. It may be possible to improve the structure of the work and to clarify the strategic efforts."

What developments do you think will be made in sustainable business in the next few years?

"Sustainability was previously often handled as a communicative issue or an expert issue, but is now beginning to be elevated to a strategic matter for which the Board is responsible. Accordingly, the relationship between sustainable business, business development and risk management becomes clearer. I also think that such areas as innovation and new information technology will be linked to sustainable business. This is an area that Svenska Spel has already entered and an effort that I look forward to following."

* Sustainable business is defined as the companies’ ability to work with issues regarding human rights, labour conditions, the environment, anti-corruption, business ethics, diversity and equality.