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News November 30, 2023

SEK and EKN explain the importance of attending COP28

Today, the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), opens in Dubai with calls for accelerated action and an expressed focus on implementation. The Swedish Export Finance System, consisting of the Swedish Export Credit Corporation (SEK) and the Swedish Export Credit Agency (EKN) are represented on site by the organizations’ Chief Sustainability Officers. In this interview, SEK’s CEO Magnus Montan, and EKN’s Director General Anna-Karin Jatko, explain the importance of attending COP28 and the role of export finance in the global climate transition.

Why is it important for the Swedish export finance system to participate at COP28?

Anna Karin Jatko: Securing the innovation, technology and financing needed to achieve the climate transition will require a high level of collaboration and synergy between countries and sectors. COP is an important forum for exchanging experiences and networking.

Magnus Montan: The expressed focus of this year’s COP is implementation, an area in which financing has a vital role to play. SEK and EKN’s participation are therefore key, as they together make up the Swedish export finance system.

Anna-Karin Jatko: Our goal in attending COP will be to raise awareness of export credit financing as a tool in the transition and to embrace experiences, ideas, and opportunities so we can provide even better support – both in Sweden and globally.

What role do export credits play in the transition?

Magnus Montan: They play a much greater role than you would think. Together with international banks, the Swedish export finance system is frequently a financier of major infrastructure projects. SEK and EKN have long-standing experience of assessing sustainability risks in projects in all types of markets, requiring compliance with international standards in various areas, including environment, human rights, and anti-corruption.

Anna-Karin Jatko: Export credits could be utilized to an even greater extent if there was greater awareness that such a facility exists. In our capacity as an export finance system, we are a longterm and stable business partner for international banks.

Why Sweden and Swedish companies?

Magnus Montan: Sweden is highly regarded in terms of quality and sustainability. Swedish companies are at the forefront of technological solutions that facilitate reductions in industrial emissions. Moreover, the country has a wealth of innovative small and medium-sized enterprises that are developing new products and services that will be required in the sustainable communities we are striving to create. In recent years, several “impact tech” unicorns have emerged in Sweden. Despite a reduction in risk appetite and a more hesitant approach among venture-capital companies due to the economic slowdown, there is strong interest in companies and business models that contribute positively to the transition. This is crucial if the transition to a sustainable society is to move from ambitious promises to measurable action.

Anna-Karin Jatko: Sweden is a strong export nation, and we support the Swedish export sector through financing and guarantees. Sweden’s high credit rating (AAA) means the Swedish export finance system is highly competitive.

What is needed for the export finance system to make an even greater contribution to the transition?

Anna-Karin Jatko: We need to raise awareness of export credits and the Swedish export finance system, which is also one of the reasons behind our participation at COP. We must ensure even closer collaboration between countries if we are to finance more transition projects in complex markets. We also need to establish new forms of collaboration between development banks, commercial banks, export credit agencies, companies, and aid organizations.

Magnus Montan: It is important to bear in mind that it is companies and the business sector that are driving the transition through innovative product development and new types of business models that promote sustainability and circularity. It is crucial that there is a long-term approach and that politicians actively support companies and society to realize the transition.