The Stockholm Åre 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid has received another boost from the business community in Sweden, after one of Europe’s top business and philanthropy families expressed strong support for the mission to bring the winter Olympics to Sweden for the first time.
Jacob Wallenberg, Chair of Investor AB – Sweden’s largest industrial holding company and the major shareholder in global companies such as Ericsson, ABB, Atlas Copco and Permobil – has spoken out to expressly back the 2026 bid, emphasising the importance of modern business getting behind sustainable practices on a major scale.
“It’s important for companies to underline how committed they are to sport,” he explains. “The positive work by the IOC with Agenda 2020 and the concept of sustainability and inclusion fits very well with modern business today. This is so important when we talk to our young employees and try to set the standard for the future.
“So for us, from a business point of view, to be able to push for Stockholm Åre 2026’s new sustainability and innovation vision is something we’re really engaged in.”
The Wallenberg family has been synonymous with long-term ownership and development of Swedish enterprises around the world ever since André Oscar Wallenberg – Jacob’s great great grandfather – founded Stockholms Enskilda Bank (SEB) back in 1856. Since then, some five generations of the Wallenberg family have been involved in financing, entrepreneurship and philanthropy to advance industry and society.
The Wallenberg Foundations, Sweden’s largest private contributor to research and education, are the majority shareholder of Investor AB and wholly owner of FAM. These holding companies are lead owners of international blue-chip companies such as ABB, Ericsson, Atlas Copco, Nasdaq, Wärtsilä, SKF, Stora Enso, SAS, Saab, Mölnlycke and Permobil.
“Any country in this globalised world should want to set an example to others,” Marcus Wallenberg, Chair of FAM adds. “You want to showcase your country to the rest of the world. I think the Olympics and Paralympics is a fantastic opportunity to achieve that with our focus on sustainability, innovation and inclusion.”
Agenda 2020 is a new sustainable initiative designed by the International Olympic Committee to promote more sustainable practices around the Olympic Games – and encourages a ‘use what you have, where you have it’ approach.
Sustainability forms a central part of the Stockholm Åre 2026’s plan and the CEO Richard Brisius has outlined the campaign’s aim to deliver ‘the most sustainable Olympic Games in history’, if Sweden should be awarded the Games in 2026.
“During the last Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, 90% of Swedes caught some of the action on television – and that really tells you something about how engaged this country is with sports. It’s also very important that the Olympics can support the countries inclusion efforts and counteract societal divisions.”
“Swedes are generally passionate about sports and we have a solid heritage on the biggest stage in the world, ranking seventh in the all-time Winter Olympic medal table. As Swedes we would be proud to welcome all athletes and the whole Olympic Movement to Winter Games in Sweden 2026,” Marcus Wallenberg continues.
Jacob Wallenberg adds: “Personally, one of my favourite Olympic memories is from Sochi 2014, where Charlotte Kalla sprinted from behind at the finish line to win gold in the women’s ski relay – a moment of enormous pride and joy for the whole of Sweden.”
The final decision on which Candidate City of Stockholm/Åre and Milan/Cortina will be awarded the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will be made on 24 June 2019 at the IOC Session in Lausanne, Switzerland.