The Relationship Between a Governmental Investment Organization and the Concept of Sustainability: The Operationalization of Sustainability in the Case of the Swedish Pension System

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för globala studier

Abstract: This thesis aims to contribute to the understanding of how the relationship between agovernmental investment organization and the concept of sustainability has effects on bothnational and global scales. The thesis discusses the first four funds within the Swedish PensionSystem, which secures Sweden’s pensions through investing money retrieved from citizens’income. The thesis has one overarching research question, and three sub-researchquestions: How do the first four funds within the Swedish Pension System utilize the concept ofsustainability throughout their management? What definitions do the first four funds of theSwedish Pension System operate with regarding sustainability throughout their annualreports? How does the definition of sustainability provided in the Agenda 2030 correspondwith the one provided in the Swedish pension system’s first four funds’ annual reports? Whatimplications does the Swedish Pension System’s first four funds’ implementation of policiesregarding sustainability have for the funds’ sustainability-related goals? Through theframework of legitimacy theory, the thesis analyzes the funds’ annual reports from 2016-2019.They manage the pensions’ financial aspects through elaborated strategies and investments,simultaneously as they invest in hazardous industries. Thus, along with previous research, theanalysis notes a perceived contradiction within the funds where their acclaimed behavior doesnot instinctively match their investments. The thesis concludes that the perceived inherentcontradiction, in fact, is no contradiction and that they, as governmental investmentorganizations, are inseparable from Swedish society. The funds arguably both are and are notsustainable while having effects on both national and global scales.

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