By Roy C. Mabasa
Swedish Ambassador Harald Fries said Saab Group, a major defense and civilian security company, has just opened an office in the country.
“People here they associate Saab with cars but they no longer exist,” he noted. “It is now a global security company and they just opened up an office here in the Philippines.”
The Saab Group has been reported to be in the pole position to secure a deal to sell its JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft to the Philippine Air Force. Aside from air defense, the company could also offer coastal surveillance equipment and even submarines to the Philippines.
During a media roundtable held on the occasion of the 70th year of Sweden-Philippine Diplomatic Relations, Ambassador Fries said Swedish business is generally quite progressive when it comes to corporate social responsibility in terms of taking care of the environment, as well as upholding labor and human rights.
Swedish companies such as clothing giant H&M, multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company Ericsson, and global customer experience specialist Transcom WorldWide AB are all “very advanced in nurturing good working conditions for these people that they hire.”
Fries disclosed that later this year, the Swedish embassy will invite Swedish companies who do good work in terms of social responsibility, to have an exchange with government agencies, labor unions, and Philippines companies.
“If the Swedish companies could show that giving emphasis to social responsibility and environment is not only the right thing to do but it also makes sense business wise for them,” he explained. “They see that consumers pay more attention to this, who offer good working conditions, who take care of the environment. These companies say it’s good for the business. That’s good to stimulate companies here to do the same.”