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  1. The Swan effect – changing whole industries

The Swan effect – changing whole industries

In 1989 the Nordic Swan Ecolabel was born, making it one of the world's oldest ecolabels. Much has changed since 1989 in the field of sustainability. In this interview we talk to one of our own at Ecolabelling Sweden: Sara Bergman, head of criteria and sustainability. We look more closely at how the Nordic Swan Ecolabel has been a driver for sustainability over these past thirty years, and where we're heading.

A lot has happened in sustainability over the past thirty years. What has changed?

– In the beginning, it was all about minimizing the negative impact on the environment. Today, risk management is a hygiene factor and sustainability is increasingly put at the core of business models. I believe that the Nordic Swan Ecolabel has contributed to this development by helping organisations to reduce their negative impact and increase their positive impact. We have been an important part in helping companies to shift from looking at single environmental issues to adopting a more holistic perspective, says Sara Bergman.

How do you transform industries by making greener decisions?

– Understanding the demand of consumers, as well as public procurers and private buyers, is important. We work with communication, education and network building. We can create a ripple effect, something we sometimes internally refer to as “Svaneneffekten“ – The Swan effect. Through “Svaneneffekten” we can work towards a more sustainable society on multiple front lines. As a result, we are constantly expanding the number of industries we are operating within. We also grow as “house of experts”, recruiting new employees that can add new competences to our organisation, says Sara Bergman

There are new labels entering the market every day. Will the Nordic Swan Ecolabel still be relevant in 30 years from now?

– We have no self-interest in our existing. If we have a sustainable society in thirty years no ecolabel is needed. However, I believe that the Nordic Swan Ecolabel as a third-party certification is more important today than ever before. As more and more labels appear on the market and consumers get increasingly confused, we are providing guidance and trust, says Sara Bergman.

This is a shortened version of the interview. Read the full article (16-20)