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Diversity and inclusion are required for us to be able to create innovative and sustainable companies. Within the framework of our new operation Axelerate, we gear up the work with diversity and inclusion in our companies and continue supporting external initiatives working towards a more inclusive society.

We want to move faster, we want to work smarter, and we believe that this can be done by joining forces in a more systematic way. We want to attract the best skills and recruit from 100% of the talent pool. We want leaders and employees who reflect our customers and our society. It is a matter of acting responsibly as an employer and ensuring our skills supply and pace of innovation.

“Axel Johnson is to be a positive force for change in society. Diversity makes our operations better.” Caroline Berg, Chairman, Axel Johnson

The goals of gender equality among the companies’ leaders and employees have been achieved for several years, while the proportion of managers with international background between 2014 and 2019 ranged from six percent to 14%. The goal in 2020 is for 20% of the managers to have an international background in our companies. We track this trend annually and our companies undertake several activities to increase diversity.

What we want to achieve through Axelerate
The focus area Axelerate consists of a central team with the mission to support our companies in becoming best in class on diversity and inclusion.

• We want our leaders and employees reflect our customers and our society.
• Our companies shall be a positive force for change in society.
• We want to attract and retain the best talent and achieve profitable, long-term and sustainable growth.
• Our support to external initiatives aims to facilitate and strengthen their work to be a positive force for change in society.

Partnerships and external initiatives
We have several important partnerships that aim to drive positive change in society. We have invested in Mitt Liv, a social company with the mission to create equal opportunities, through mentoring programs for foreign-borns academics and other areas. We are also the main partner to The Global Village, the organizers of Järvaveckan, an important meeting place for inclusion.

ÖppnaDörren is a portal for non-profit networking organizations supported by Axel Johnson. There, private individuals can sign up for an hour-long meeting with another private individual with whom they are matched, or for an open parent group for persons on parental leave. The organizations also collaborate with companies, the public sector and other organizations. One of the ambitions is that meetings will increase the opportunities for new Swedes to enter and establish themselves in the labor market. The organizations are:

Yrkesdörren – creates meetings between established Swedes and those who are new to Sweden to broaden professional networks. Yrkesdörren is operated by Axel Johnson.
Nya Kompisbyrån – links together established and new Swedes over a coffee or a dinner. Nya Kompisbyrån is an independent non-profit organization that is supported by Axel Johnson.
Svenska med baby – brings together persons on parental leave and their children with origins all over the world. Svenska med baby is an independent non-profit organization that is supported by Axel Johnson.

Since the start in 2015, more than 150 leaders within Axel Johnson have had meetings, thereby enabling employees to meet new Swedes who want to establish themselves in Sweden.

ÖppnaDörren and Yrkesdörren was created and previously run by Axfoundation, an independent and non-profit organization. In the autumn of 2020, the initiatives became a part of Axel Johnson, with the ambition to scale up further.

For further information, please contact Eliza Kücükaslan, Head of Axelerate, eliza.kucukaslan@axeljohnson.se, +46 73 204 58 91.

Caroline Berg on Axel Johnson’s diversity work

Caroline Berg, Chairman, Axel Johnson

“As a family company, we have always believed that enterprise is one of the primary forces that can create change in society. We have worked with equality and diversity since the 1980s. Driving forces: We want to have employees and managers who reflect our customers and society at large. This makes us a more successful company; we understand our customers better and recruit from the entire talent pool. We also want to contribute to increased integration in society.”

The targets for 2020 are ambitious. What is the status?
“Looking at the results from the past two years, this trend includes both positive and negative tendencies. In terms of gender spread, we see that we have achieved our target in management positions, except at the highest management level, where approximately one-third of the employees are women. In terms of international background, we have increased the percentage in management positions but unfortunately, there are fewer at the highest management level. We need to work harder to achieve our target. Increasing diversity takes time and requires a great deal of work each day. Without the enormous commitment that we have from our key personnel, we would not have progressed as far as we have. One thing that I’m proud of is that we have 1,700 employees from Samhall within the Group.”

What three pieces of advice would you give to others who want to increase their diversity efforts?
“Set goals, measure and follow up!”