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Swedish report Swedish report
by Euro Reporter
2012-11-01 10:29:29
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Sweden climbs in global prosperity ranking

In the 2012 Prosperity Index published on Tuesday by the London-based Legatum Institute think tank, Sweden climbed to third place in 2012, up from fifth place in 2011. Norway, meanwhile, maintained its hold on the number one spot, while Denmark came in second. Published annually for the last six years, the Prosperity Index ranks 142 countries based on criteria in eight categories including economic strength, health, education and governance.

In the 2012 ranking, Sweden received highest marks in the "Entrepreneurship and Opportunity" sub-index, ranking second overall on the strength of low business start-up costs, high mobile phone penetration, and a high percentage of people who believe they will get ahead with hard work. According to Legatum Institute CEO Jeffrey Gedmin, the index creates a "comprehensive picture of what makes a country truly successful, encompassing traditional measures of material wealth, as well as capturing citizens’ sense of well-being". "GDP alone can never offer a complete view of prosperity," he said in a statement.

According to Gedmin, successful countries combine "social responsibility with personal freedom". Despite continuing economic concerns in Europe, European countries dominated the top ten. The United States, meanwhile, dropped out of the Prosperity Index top ten for the first time, dropping to twelfth place at what Gedmin called a "pivotal time" as the 2012 presidential elections draw closer. “As the US struggles to reclaim the building blocks of the American Dream, now is a good time to consider who is best placed to lead the country back to prosperity and compete with the more agile countries that have pushed the US out of the top ten," he said.


Sweden grocery delivery success spreads in Europe

A popular concept in Sweden that delivers the exact ingredients for dinner to people’s home—with a focus on environmental sustainability—is now spreading in Europe. Kicki Theander was the first in Sweden and in the region when she started the concept in Sweden under the name Middagsfrid in 2007. Her idea was to simplify dinner chores for families and other households who want to serve good food every day. By subscribing to Middagsfrids grocery bag people get ingredients and recipes delivered every week or every two weeks. “It all started when I was bored at my ordinary job. Through my personal coach, I got the assignment to reflect on a dream situation without considering the obstacles and limitations. I saw people around me that suffered from the problem ‘What shall we have for dinner?’ and felt that this was a task for me,” says Theander.

The demand for these grocery bags is great and today the Swedish company’s volume of sale is almost 13 million dollars. Middagsfrid operates in more than 70 municipalities in Sweden, in Norway, Denmark, Germany and Belgium. On Oct. 1, Middagsfrid also began operating in Switzerland under the name Salito. It was exactly five years ago that Kicki Theander personally delivered the first fully planned grocery order to customers in Stockholm. That the demand is so large and is rapidly spreading to other countries shows there is an interest in helping families to eat a good and varied diet.

In addition, the company now has many followers both in Sweden and abroad, and today there are several players in the market to choose from. By subscribing to grocery bags, customers also do a good deed for the environment. Middagsfrid reviews the whole chain—from the emissions that occur in the production of food, to transportation and waste. Families learn to eat a vegetarian meal a week. The groceries are at least 25 percent organic, there are no unnecessary additives, and recipes are customized so the client throws away as little resources as possible. According to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, emissions from the production of the amount of food thrown away each year is around two tonnes of carbon dioxide. This represents about three percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in Sweden.

Eating less meat is commonly advised to reduce emissions. Depending on the type of meat, emissions vary. Beef production creates huge emissions—even if you ate chicken seven days a week, emissions would not be as high as the one serving beef. Kicki Theander says she had the environment in mind already when she started her business, but it was most that the food went “collectively” with other people’s food, and that a well-planned grocery delivery reduces waste. “Now I know much more, namely that the greatest environmental benefit is achieved by choosing the right kind of ingredients. Beef generates such huge emissions of CO2 and by having this meat relatively infrequently in the bags we save on emissions of harmful greenhouse gases without the client experiencing a sacrifice,” says Kicki Theander.


Sweden imports trash for energy

Sweden is importing trash from its neighbours —and using the waste as fuel for its energy program. The program is such a success that waste incineration plants in Sweden account for up to a fifth of the country’s district heating, Public Radio International reported. But now, Sweden’s waste recycling program may have proven too successful. “We have more capacity than the production of waste in Sweden and that is usable for incineration,” it quoted Catarina Ostlund, Senior Advisor for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, as saying.
She said this means the country is producing much less burnable waste than it needs - it is not generating enough trash to power the incinerators, prompting it to import waste from European neighbours. The solution? Importing about 800,000 tons of trash from the rest of Europe per year to use in its power plants.
Most of the imported waste comes from neighbouring Norway a it is more expensive to burn the trash there and cheaper for the Norwegians to simply export their waste to Sweden. Under the arrangement, Norway pays Sweden to take the waste and Sweden also gets electricity and heat.

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