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Business ethics


Responsibility on all levels

At Sweco, business ethics means more than compliance with laws and regulations. Ethical behaviour in the company’s own operations and in client projects reflects Sweco’s values, prevents risks and has a positive impact on society.

Establishing and maintaining integrity, transparency and trust in the company is essential for Sweco’s long-term success, wherever in the world the company operates. Sweco’s decentralised approach, with all employees responsible for their own business relationships, sets high standards for personal awareness of business ethics. Employees and business partners are responsible for complying with laws, regulations and Sweco’s own business ethics policies.

Code of Conduct and other policies

With 22,000 employees working on 150,000 projects throughout the world, it is essential that Sweco and its business partners conduct business based on the same principles and with the utmost integrity. Sweco’s Code of Conduct applies to all Sweco Group employees and covers environment, business ethics, employee development, human rights, labour law, data protection and personal data management. The Code is based on international standards such as the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP), the ILO’s core conventions, the OECD’s guidelines for multinational companies, and the UN’s Global Compact principles covering human rights, working conditions, environment and anti-corruption. All employees are required to complete annual digital training on the Code of Conduct and confirm compliance with their signature.

Read more about our Code of Conduct

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Careful selection of business partners and projects

In addition to requiring Sweco’s business partners to comply with the company’s Code of Conduct, Sweco also uses a specific corporate responsibility programme – the Sweco Business Partner Programme – to evaluate its partners. The programme includes guidelines in areas such as anti-corruption and human rights, as well as a training programme that Sweco’s consultants and partners participate in together. For projects outside Sweco’s home markets, the company has a process for risk assessment of projects and business partners, which applies Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) as one parameter. The higher risk a project is deemed to have, the stricter the assessment.

Read more about our Business Partner Program

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Taxes and distributed value

Taxes play a key role in financing public services in the areas of climate and environment, healthcare, social welfare, infrastructure, education and the legal system. In addition to the solutions and values Sweco experts create with clients in projects, taxes and fees are considered an integral part of sustainable business operations that contribute to society. Sweco pays taxes in accordance with local tax laws and regulations in the countries where the company operates. Sweco aspires to a high standard of tax management and provides transparent financial reports based on OECD principles, meaning that Group results are taxed where value is created. The tax policy serves as Sweco’s framework for tax management and is reviewed annually. For 2023, Sweco paid SEK 525 million (389) in company tax. In addition to company tax, Sweco contributes additional value related to salaries, pensions and employee benefits, dividends to shareholders, payments to suppliers, and taxes. Social fees, exclusive of pension costs, totalled SEK 2,570 million (2,165) in 2023.

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IT and cyber security

The exponential growth of data and increased dependence on digital infrastructure underscore the importance of information security. Cyberattacks and data theft can have a significant impact Sweco’s operational integrity, financial stability and reputation. Sweco works continuously to strengthen the company’s framework for information security, which is designed to safeguard information and IT infrastructure against existing and new threats and risks, thereby ensuring availability and continuity in Sweco’s operations and client projects. Due to the geopolitical situation marked by the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, the threat level increased in 2023 on several markets where Sweco operates. As a result, Sweco has increased controls and proactive identification of risks in its systems to ensure the company’s resilience. Risks identified through these tests are analysed and addressed. Sweco worked actively during the year to create a security-conscious culture among all employees, with regular training sessions in cyber risks and measures that can be applied to prevent cyberattacks.

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Sweco’s procurements broadly cover the following categories: sub-consultants, office space and IT, travel and employee costs other than salaries and remuneration. Although Sweco’s supply chain is limited and its most significant sustainability impact occurs in client projects and collaborations with other parties, Sweco expects all of its suppliers to comply not only with laws and regulations in the countries where they operate, but also with group-wide principles in Sweco’s Code of Conduct. Sub-consultants at Sweco are required to sign the Code of Conduct, which covers areas including health and safety, environmental management, business ethics, compliance, human rights and workers’ rights. Management and evaluation of supplier relations and procurement  also take place at the business area level based on local policies and procedures. Sweco ensures regulation of sustainability requirements in its supplier and contract management through contractual commitments from the company’s suppliers. Sweco’s goal is to use ongoing dialogue to continuously improve the review and management of its supply chain and establish processes and tools to further develop sustainability performance.

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Human rights

Sweco supports and respects human rights, as defined by international conventions. Sweco’s Code of Conduct also serves as the company’s group-wide human rights policy. Sweco has zero tolerance for human rights violations, child labour and inhumane working conditions. Sweco also does not permit discrimination or denial of employees’ collective bargaining rights. The company actively promotes equal rights and opportunities in the workplace, within Sweco and in contacts with clients and other stakeholders. The risk of human rights violations within Sweco’s own operations is deemed to be relatively minor. Human rights violations are mainly of concern in export projects conducted outside of Europe, with the risk of violation varying based on e.g. type of project, geographic location and the business partners Sweco works with. Human rights criteria are included in the tender review process for screening major Sweco projects, in the assessment of potential business partners and in the merger and acquisition process. No suspected violations of human rights were reported in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

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The Sweco Ethics Line

Sweco has a zero-tolerance policy with regard to violation of the law and business ethics and to human rights violations. Sweco focuses on enforcing this policy by proactively providing training and information, and by reactively picking up on and managing incidents. The Sweco Ethics Line, one of the company’s whistleblowing channels, can be used by employees and external parties for anonymous reporting of suspected misconduct. Any illegal or unethical behaviour, including human rights violations, can be reported anonymously via the Sweco Ethics Line, which is operated by an external provider. Sweco also has internal reporting channels available to employees. All reported incidents are promptly investigated, regardless of the reporting channel used. Investigations are managed as locally as possible.

Read more about the Sweco Ethics Line

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Sustainability Report

Sustainability forms an integral part of Sweco’s business and strategy.

Climate neutral by 2040

Sweco’s group-wide sustainability goal is to achieve climate neutrality by 2040.

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This is Sweco

Maintaining a high standard of business ethics is key to a sustainable company.

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