Objectives for state-owned companies
The State has a major responsibility to be an active and professional owner. The Government's overall objectives are for the companies to generate value and, where applicable, to ensure that specially commissioned public policy assignments are well performed.
Balanced gender distribution
The state-owned companies are role models in terms of having a high proportion of female board members and now also in terms of the number of female chairs. The boards, including chairs, of wholly state-owned companies are made up of close to 50 per cent women. According to SIS Ownership Service (SIS Ägarservice), the proportion of women on the boards of publicly listed companies is 26 per cent. The Government’s objective is that all boards of state-owned companies should have a gender quota of at least 40 per cent. Not less than 41 per cent of the chairs of wholly state-owned companies are women, compared with 43 per cent the previous year and 23 per cent in 2006. According to SIS Ownership Service, only five per cent of the chairs of publicly listed companies are women.
When state-owned companies have the same economic demands on their operations as other organisations, competitiveness, value development and capital efficiency are increased. At the same time, this reduces the risk of risk of distorted competition. Economic goals are set in consultation between owners and companies and adopted by the Annual General Meeting.
The aim of setting economic goals for the companies is to:
- ensure that value is generated,
- achieve capital efficiency,
- maintain a reasonable level of financial risk,
- guarantee the owner a sustainable and predictable return, and
- make it possible to evaluate the company's profitability, efficiency and level of risk.
It is natural that the State and state-owned companies are at the forefront of sustainable enterprise by acting in an exemplary way in the area. Sustainable enterprise involves more than simply complying with rules and regulations. Employers with a clear set of core values will attract and retain the best employees. Corporate culture and leadership must manage sustainability issues as naturally as any other business decision, as sustainability challenges also affect global attitudes towards the company’s business, which in turn affects its long-term profitability. In all likelihood, companies developing products and services that help customers reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions will make money in the future too. Sustainable enterprise involves running the organisation in a way that satisfies today's needs without endangering the chances of future generations to satisfy their own needs.
The State, in its capacity as Sweden's largest company owner, integrates sustainable enterprise into its corporate governance in order to ensure sound long-term growth in the value of its holdings. In 2012, each company board was made responsible for defining and adopting relevant sustainability goals and overall strategies for achieving these. Each individual company has its own specific business opportunities and risks linked to sustainability.
The sustainability goals, which are adopted by the company boards, are to be a small number of strategic and measurable goals and are evaluated by the owner beginning in 2014.
State-owned companies have been instructed to report on their sustainability performance in accordance with the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
Several state-owned companies have a specially commissioned public policy assignment from the Riksdag. Evaluation of how well the public policy assignment is performed is facilitated by an explicit formulation of goals. The ambition of the Government Offices is to improve the monitoring of how well the public policy assignments are performed within the scope of corporate administration. In relevant cases, this will take place through one or more assignment goals being adopted by the Annual General Meeting.
A specially commissioned public policy assignment exists when a company has an assignment from the Riksdag to undertake activities that aim to generate effects other than a financial return for the owner. The State's goal is for the assignment to be performed well and as efficiently as possible, which is why it is meaningful for companies with specially commissioned public policy assignments to combine assignment goals with economic goals.
In 2013, the Government Offices developed a procedure for setting assignment objectives, which is now being done in relevant cases in connection with a review of economic targets.
The purpose of setting assignment objectives is to:
- ensure that the specially commissioned public policy assignments are performed well,
- increase transparency of the cost of performing the specially commissioned public policy assignment,
- enable follow-up and reporting to the Riksdag and other stakeholders, and
- clarify the prerequisites for achieving the economic targets.