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Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations.

the sustainable transport forum, paris

“Moving towards a more sustainable society is urgent and should be a priority for all businesses – in all sectors. Businesses cannot succeed in a society that fails,” Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, stressed at Scania’s Sustainable Transport Forum “Driving the Shift” in Paris.

With some of the most prominent sustainability decision-makers and opinion-influencers in attendance, the Paris meeting was focused on how the transport industry can help to drive the shift to a sustainable future for society. Scania’s goal is to be a leader in the shift to a sustainable transport system and the Transport Forum was Scania’s way to show how the world can go from global agreements to global actions.

“We need to bend the curve of global CO2 emissions within four years and then steeply reduce emissions until 2050 to reach a fossil-free world economy. For me, it’s no longer a question if humanity will move in a sustainable direction, but if we will manage to do it fast enough. The transportation sector plays a vital role in the transformation that has to happen,” said Professor Johan Rockström, Executive Director at Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Urgent to take action

Guided by Rockström, the keynote speakers and the panel discussion that followed were in agreement that it’s urgent to move from talk to action, and that real, sustainable change can only be achieved in cooperation between all stakeholders.

Giving a personal perspective on how we can inspire action and create real change for society, Kofi Annan, who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006, said he believe that the frameworks for this to happen are already in place.

“The Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are major leaps forward and create a common focus. But now it must also be a priority for all businesses, in all sectors and industries. Businesses cannot succeed in a society that fails,” Annan said, underlining the importance of making economic cases for sustainable mobility.

“Technological advances mean businesses no longer need to choose between economic growth and sustainability – we can have both!” said Annan, and added, “Only promises that are kept are promises that matter.”

Georg Kell, Founding Executive Director, UN Global Compact and Vice Chairman, Arabesque Partners. Andreas Renschler, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Scania Group. Michael Treschow, Chairman of the Board of Ericsson.

Partnership for sustainability

Highlighting the role of business in creating a more sustainable society, Georg Kell, founding Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, and Andreas Renschler, member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG and CEO of Volkswagen Truck & Bus GmbH, agreed on the need for partnerships between industry, society and politics.

“We must mobilise the global business community as never before. Businesses are best placed, both economically and technologically, to adopt new patterns of production and consumption. Companies have moved from being reactive to being proactive. It´s a big shift since the Global Compact was established,” Kell said.

Renschler, who is also Chairman of Scania’s board of directors, believes the transport industry is one of the key players in the climate debate. It’s also an industry that has embarked upon a journey of dramatic transformation, driven by connectivity. He believes:

“Great challenges lie ahead of us. But so is the potential that goes along with the digital revolution. Fully exploiting this enormous potential requires both constant innovation and the willingness to change. But most importantly, it will demand the willingness to collaborate across sectors and industries.”

Henrik Henriksson, President and CEO of Scania with Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations

Deliver on the Paris sustainable agreements

In a panel discussion, Anna Johansson, Swedish Infrastructure Minister; Olivier Capron, Transport Director for Carrefour in Paris; Johan Karlström, CEO of Skanska; and Libertad Martinez, Social and Cultural Manager at the Colombian transport company SI99, agreed on the need for true cooperation and partnerships, to deliver on the Paris sustainable agreements made last year.

In his speech to the Sustainable Transport Forum, Henrik Henriksson, President and CEO of Scania, recalled that transport of goods and people is the lifeblood of economic growth and social development. It plays a vital role in bringing to life the vision of a more sustainable society, and turning our collective promises into action.

“We believe that taking waste out of the system is what will change the game in our industry – whether it’s waste of space, time or energy,” Henriksson said, and added:

“Transport is one of the industries where the digital revolution is moving fastest – and Scania is already investing heavily in this area.”

Connected vehicles key for reducing waste

With over 200,000 connected vehicles, Scania has the most connected fleet in the industry. And that connected fleet shows that trucks in Europe today only run at an average of 60% load capacity.

This is where Scania’s commitment to reducing waste is taken to the next level, using the data from these vehicles that have been connected in society, identifying waste and inefficiencies via real time data, and improving flows of goods in all transport systems.

Summing up, Henrik Henriksson said, “I´m committed to lead the company Scania on a way where we will take the leadership in creating the shift towards a more sustainable transport system. We believe it´s about redefining the role of transport. That´s the aim of Scania!”