The Riksbank’s work on sustainability

Long-term sustainability is a key issue for the future. The Riksbank works both to strengthen the sustainability of its internal operations and to adapt its work on price stability and a safe and efficient payment system to more sustainable development. The Riksbank has developed a strategy and has decided on six principles to consider sustainability in its policy work.

Sustainable social development

By sustainable development, the Riksbank means what has by now become a commonly-used definition, namely developments in society that meet today’s needs without compromising the possibilities of future generations to meet their needs, and in which consideration is given to economic, ecological and social aspects. This definition of sustainable development comes originally from the United Nations and is used by the Government of Sweden and the Riksdag, among others. The Riksbank is a public authority under the Riksdag and the state’s core values guide the work of the Riksbank.

The Riksbank uses the 2030 Agenda as a basis for its work

The 2030 Agenda - a resolution adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2015 - identifies 17 goals for sustainable development. Several of these goals have a bearing on the Riksbank’s operations, for example those concerning climate change, sustainable consumption and production, decent working conditions, equality and global partnership.

The Global Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Principles for the Riksbank’s sustainability work

The Riksbank has decided on six principles to consider sustainability in its work:

  1. The Riksbank’s work uses the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda as its starting point.
  2. The Riksbank shall analyse climate change and developments in the area of sustainability to understand how the economy as a whole is affected and thus how the Riksbank can best carry out its policy tasks.
  3. The Riksbank is to act for international cooperation to promote sustainable development and reduce the risks linked to climate change. Consequently, in line with the intentions of the Riksdag and the Government, the Riksbank shall act for regulation of the financial system that reduces risks linked to climate change.
  4. The Riksdag and the Government have main responsibility for conducting climate policy in Sweden. The Riksbank can contribute the means available within its mandate, and as a complement to other policy. However, the most effective measures to limit climate change fall within the remit of other policy areas.
  5. The Riksbank is obliged to ensure that its operations are run efficiently and that it uses public finances prudently. It follows on from this that the Riksbank, among other things, shall manage the risks that arise when purchasing corporate bonds, especially risks to the Riksbank’s financial position. Some of these risks are linked to sustainability on the basis of the assumption that it is more risky to buy bonds issued by companies that are breach of universal norm-based principles.                       
  6. The Riksbank is to apply a sustainability perspective in management of the foreign exchange reserves. The Riksbank’s financial risk and investment policy describes how this is to be implemented.

The direction of the Riksbank’s climate-related work

The Riksbank works on behalf of Sweden’s citizens for a strong and secure economy by conducting a monetary policy with price stability as its main objective by and promoting safe and efficient payments and a stable financial system. Since climate change affects the Riksbank’s areas of responsibility, long-term sustainability is important for the Riksbank. There is a sustainability committee at the Riksbank that coordinates and develops work on the basis of a sustainability strategy. The Riksbank’s ambition is to work systematically with sustainability in all its different activities.

Based on the sustainability strategy, the Riksbank shall take account of climate change and promote an orderly transition to a sustainable economy within the framework of its mandate. To achieve this, the Riksbank will:

  • work to ensure that its own operations gradually comply with international agreements such as the Paris Agreement,
  • help to increase knowledge of the effects of climate change on the economy by contributing its own research and analyses,
  • take a sustainability perspective in its asset purchases and in the management of the foreign exchange reserves under the framework of the Riksbank’s mandate,
  • promote increased transparency and reporting related to its climate footprint,
  • promote regulations in the financial markets to reduce the risks climate change may entail for the financial system,
  • actively participate in various international networks and partnerships to help reduce the risks of climate change at a global level.
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Updated 08/04/2022