How Sweden continues to set the benchmark as one of the world’s most sustainable countries

by | 1 Jun 2023

When it comes to the world’s most sustainable countries, there are few that set a better example than Sweden. The Scandinavian nation has earned global recognition for its unwavering commitment to sustainability. With its innovative policies and progressive mindset, the country stands as a shining example of environmental consciousness and eco-friendly living that other countries would do well to follow. With World Environment Day coming up, there’s no better time than now to champion sustainability – the Swedish way.


post image

We’re taking a deep dive into Sweden’s pioneering practices on sustainability, armed with industry insights from Lucie Dalila, our own Sustainability Manager and this week’s Insightful Destination Expert.

Test your knowledge against Lucie in Insightful, our trivia game designed for curious travelers.


post image

In Sweden, sustainability is more than a mere buzzword; it’s a guiding principle. The country’s environmental protection schemes enact stringent regulation and policy to reduce carbon emissions, meaning in 2012 they already reached their 2020 target of making 50 percent of their energy renewable. They achieved this predominantly through investing in hydropower and biomass, reducing their reliance on fossil fuels. As Lucie tells us: “Sweden has been investing heavily in sustainable energy for some time, with the country aiming for 100% renewable electricity production by 2040.’

You may also like: Insight investigates: how the future of air travel is shaping up



post image

Sweden embraces a circular economy. Here, there’s a strong emphasis on minimizing waste and maximizing resource efficiency. Through innovative waste management systems, waste-to-energy plants, and recycling initiatives, Sweden has achieved an impressive recycling rate, ensuring that materials are reused and repurposed instead of being discarded. This goes beyond just waste management, however. The culture embraces the concept of a circular economy from the start: from product design to production processes to consumption patterns. So much so that the Swedish government created a dedicated advisory group for the circular economy, making this concept a key part of government policy.

You may also like: Insight investigates: what is greenwashing, and how to avoid it?


Agriculture in Sweden has embraced sustainable practices to minimize its environmental impact, making it one of the most sustainable agriculture industries in the world. Organic farming is encouraged, with a focus on reducing chemical inputs and promoting biodiversity. Sweden’s farmers embrace innovative techniques such as precision farming, agroforestry, and sustainable crop rotation, ensuring agriculture aligns with the UN sustainable development goals.

You may also like: 11 fascinating biodiverse locations you can visit with Insight



post image

Taking a look at Sweden’s infrastructure and urban planning, and it’s not hard to see why it’s one of the world leaders in Sustainability.

“Sweden is a pioneer in environmental protection and a leader in sustainable development and innovation.” Lucie says. “Many cities have been championing sustainability through cleaner public transport, accommodation providers and immersive experiences respectful of the local cultures and customs.”

Cities are pedestrian-friendly, with green spaces, parks, and recreational areas seamlessly integrated into the civil design. The emphasis on compact, mixed-use development minimizes sprawl and promotes community connectivity. The buildings themselves are energy-efficient, with smart systems, passive houses, and renewable energy generation.

And then there’s the transportation. Many of Sweden’s cities boast an extensive network of bike lanes, encouraging citizens to opt for cycling as a mode of transportation. Additionally, Sweden has invested in efficient public transportation systems, including electric buses and trains, as well as creating incentives for electric vehicles up until 2022.

You may also like: The land of fire, ice and renewable energy – so how does Iceland do it?


Living sustainably is largely hard-coded into the everyday way of life in Sweden. From recycling and energy conservation to embracing nature and mindful consumption, every individual plays a vital role in preserving the country’s pristine environment. Through this eco-friendly lifestyle, the very culture prioritizes long-term environmental well-being. One of the key reasons why Sweden is one of the world’s most sustainable countries lies in its education system.

As Lucie explains, “Sweden stands for how they have been able to integrate sustainability in daily life. We’ve seen a rise of social, community, multidisciplinary and creative projects, built to engage the local population in understanding sustainability, environmental protection, inclusion and diversity.”

From an early age, Swedish children are taught the importance of environmental conservation and sustainability. Schools in Sweden integrate sustainability into their curriculum and empower the younger generation to become eco-friendly citizens. By nurturing a sense of responsibility towards the environment, Sweden ensures that sustainable practices continue to thrive in the years to come.

You may also like: Nine Scandinavian foods you have to try on your next trip


post image

The Swedish approach to sustainability is rooted in a deep understanding of the interconnectedness between environmental, social, and economic factors. It recognizes that true sustainability can only be achieved by addressing all these dimensions simultaneously.

By adopting this holistic vision for the future, Sweden has successfully harmonized economic growth with environmental preservation and social well-being. The Swedish approach to sustainability serves as a blueprint for other nations, highlighting the importance of considering the interconnectedness of various sectors and striving for balance between human activities and the natural world. It’s this far-sighted perspective that sets Sweden apart as one of the world’s most sustainable countries.

Ready to test your travel knowledge for the chance to win some fabulous prizes? Go up against Lucie and other Insightful destination experts in our Insightful Trivia Game, where each week you’ll answer curious questions on far-flung destinations around the world.

Play Insightful

I'm Jay – born in Italy, raised in South London. Having French sisters and Hungarian ancestors, I've always been fascinated with the world and its cultures, and I carry this curiosity into my writing for Insightful. My favourite destinations I've traveled to so far have been Italy, Peru, France and Brazil.