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“Companies need to collaborate with their competition on climate change,” says Sir Richard Branson, an agent of change and a leading voice in the climate debate. Branson spoke at the Scania Sustainable Transport Forum in Stockholm, broadcast live over the web on the 19th May, where representatives from government and business discussed how to increase the scale and pace of change, and how partnership and collaboration can be the force the world needs. You can watch Sir Richard’s interview here

Since transport is one of the major sources of CO2 emissions in the world - contributing to nearly a fifth of total global emissions - it is key when solving the climate crisis. 

Christian Levin & Professor Johan Rockström
“At Scania, we reduce emissions in line with science, and with the Paris Agreement. These are corporate targets on the same level as our ambitions for volume and growth,” says Scania President and CEO, Christian Levin.

Levin is confident that when it comes to Scania’s own direct global emissions, they will be at zero in ten years. Scania is part of a growing community of more than a thousand companies with a commitment to science based climate targets and challenges more players from the transport sector to join.

“We also expect governments to work together with us, and align with science in the same way. Only then will the big investment in infrastructure come, supported by a policy framework that includes an effective price on carbon and road charges based on CO2 emissions,” Levin says.

Global business plays a vital role as climate change presents a fundamental challenge for humanity. But the outlook is mixed. The negative impacts from production, consumption and transport are severe, worse than scientists predicted. 

Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research stresses: “We are racing towards 3-degrees C and beyond of global warming, with heat waves, forest fires, disease outbreaks, accelerated melting of ice, sea level rise. But on a positive note, significant progress appears in technology. Investment and legislation have surpassed expectations, especially in transport. So, change is happening.”

Johan Rockström & Christiana Figueres

Powerful partnerships are forming right across several industries, including not only transport and buyers of transport services, but also battery and energy suppliers.

Partnerships are a galvanising force behind the shift to sustainable transport. “For me, one of the most exciting parts of our climate work at Scania is our collaboration with others. Even with competitors that we battle with daily on the ground, we have to be able agree on what is good for the long term common objectives about what is good for the planet and people,” Levin says.

This is also something Sir Richard Branson thinks is vital: “It comes down to a group of people getting along, to work out how to collaborate to make the trucking industry more effective.” 

Anna Borg – CEO Vattenfall, Jennie Cato – Scania, Peter Carlsson – CEO Northvolt and Angela Hultberg – INGKA group Ikea
Anna Borg – CEO Vattenfall, Jennie Cato – Scania, Peter Carlsson – CEO Northvolt and Angela Hultberg – INGKA group Ikea

“We need to create new norms of corporate leadership,” he emphasises, by committing to an aligned pathway to net zero emissions. “The current culture of accountability in business needs to include not only numbers and performance, but people and the planet. We have the duty – and power – to lead on the solution.”

You can watch a recording of the Scania Sustainable Transport Forum here.