DEBATE: Part 2 - A proposed Swedish chemical tax on textiles - is this a case study in great government leadership or political greenwash? | Sustainable Fashion Academy

Big Closets Small Planet with Michael Schragger

DEBATE: Part 2 - A proposed Swedish chemical tax on textiles - is this a case study in great government leadership or political greenwash?

Sweden has a reputation for being a sustainability leader in many areas, so you can imagine how curious we were to learn about a newish proposal from the current Swedish government for a chemical tax on textiles. The proposal was recently made available to stakeholders for comment, and of course, a robust debate has ensued. Is this proposal, as presented today, going to lead to a reduction in harmful chemicals in Sweden and globally? Or is it a smoke screen for a government that is looking for ways to raise revenues for its national budget? And is the proposal a done deal, given the political parties agreed to this ahead of time when forming a government?

November 11th, 2020 52 minutes 9 seconds
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About this episode

Sweden has a reputation for being a sustainability leader in many areas, so you can imagine how curious we were to learn about a newish proposal from the current Swedish government for a chemical tax on textiles. The proposal was recently made available to stakeholders for comment, and of course, a robust debate has ensued. Is this proposal, as presented today, going to lead to a reduction in harmful chemicals in Sweden and globally? Or is it a smoke screen for a government that is looking for ways to raise revenues for its national budget? And is the proposal a done deal, given the political parties agreed to this ahead of time when forming a government? In Part 2 of this episode, Michael speaks with experts who are positive to the proposed tax. We hear from Therese Jacobsson, Head of Ocean, Water & Toxics at the Swedish Society of Nature Conservation (a well established Swedish NGO), and two researchers who participated in the proposed tax advisory group: Daniel Slunge, an environmental economist at the Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development and the FRAM Centre for Future chemical Risk Assessment and Management, and Åke Bergman, a professor at Stockholm University and highly respected environmental chemist. Unfortunately the politicians and political parties supporting the proposal did not respond to our request for comment. Given we need bold and smart government leadership more than ever, we think this is an excellent case study for exploring what good government leadership can look like as well as which government actions can be problematic.

 

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About the host

Michael Schragger has been working at the intersection between sustainability, business, society and research for more than 25 years. He is an expert in analysing the impacts of environmental and social developments on business and society and mobilising stakeholders to achieve key sustainable development goals (SDGs). In 2009 Michael founded the Sustainable Fashion Academy (SFA) in order to dramatically improve environmental and human rights performance within the fashion and apparel industry. Michael participates as a senior advisor for a range of global sustainable apparel initiatives, ranging from finance to policy. He is a member of the steering group for The United Nation’s Climate Action in Fashion Charter. He also co-founded and directs The Swedish Textiles Initiative for Climate Action.

Michael currently lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife Erika and kids Oz and Blimah (who, unfortunately, refuse to listen to his podcasts…).