Sweden celebrates its corporate responsibility

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Sweden celebrates its corporate responsibility

Legendary Swedish pop group ABBA’s “Mamma Mia,” a sparkling free cocktail bar with Absolute vodka and an in-depth seminar by well-known Swedish companies marked Sweden’s National Day.

Hosted by the Swedish Embassy in Seoul, the much-anticipated celebration at the Grand Hyatt Hotel drew about 15,000 guests, including diplomats, businessmen and high-profile figures in Korea who have ties to the northern European country, the embassy said.

The theme of this year’s event was “Sustainable Sweden,” to demonstrate the success of social corporate responsibility at certain Swedish companies.

“As many of you may know, this is not a normal National Day celebration,” Swedish Ambassador Lars Danielsson said in his keynote address at the ceremony.

“I promise not to speak about trade statistics or our excellent relations with the Republic Of Korea.

“This year’s Sweden day theme is ‘Sustainable Sweden,’” he said. “We had a seminar in this hotel where Swedish experts have shared their experiences in the important field of corporate social responsibility [CSR].”

Ahead of the reception, businessmen from three Swedish companies, Ikea, H&M and Tetra Pak, made presentations about their CSR experiences in Sweden and discussed new issues in the field, the embassy said.

Sweden has been recognized as a pioneer for its CSR campaign, in which local companies work to positively impact the environment, society and the economy while still working toward a profit.

The success of Swedish companies’ CSR campaigns was proven in various sectors, not just in reducing CO2 emissions or helping the underprivileged.

They also worked toward gender equality by helping female workers balance their career and home life.

The embassy also recognized a winner of the Korea Junior Water Prize, launched by the government-run Korea Water Forum, for middle or high school students who present a thesis on the effective use of water as a natural resource.

The first winner of the prize will be given a chance to compete for the Stockholm Water Prize in September with other winners from 30 countries.

“The winner of this year’s Korea Junior Water Prize I am sure will make an important contribution to a sustainable Korea in the future,” the ambassador said, before also giving out “the Prize of the Swedish Ambassador’s Prize,” to the second place winner.

BY KIM HEE-JIN [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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