The head of Sweden’s largest pension fund said if the country tackles it the right way, the shift to a carbon-neutral economy could contribute to the level of economic growth seen after the second world war – a post-election government will need to work with investors and create a positive vision of a future Sweden.

Magnus Billing, chief executive officer of the SEK1.12trn (€104bn) occupational pensions firm Alecta, said in a blog: “If we play our cards right, the transition can contribute to growth on a par with the post-war industrial boom.”

Writing in the week following Sweden’s general election on Sunday, Billing said that while he liked following the democratic process of elections, this year he had been worried by “the swing from ‘the future is long-term green’ as we have heard from most political representatives for the past eight years, to ‘anything goes to make it easier for everyone’.”

Sweden’s Social Democrat Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson resigned yesterday due to a very narrow defeat for her bloc in the poll, and Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson is now to form a new government – for which he will need the support of the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats.

Billing said the tone of debate had recently changed regarding the climate transition, with both government and opposition having become focused on lowering the tax on fossil fuels and paying citizens’ energy bills.

“With full respect that it is tough financially to have to drive long distances and to pay the hugely increased energy prices, we should not lose focus from the transition,” he said.

It was possible to do both, he said: “It is not impossible to deliver help in difficult times and at the same time keep your eyes fixed on the horizon.”

Politicians had to remember, Billing said, that those managing pension capital were there to help by investing capital that created good pensions in a long-term sustainable society.

“We are happy to cooperate with you. We want it, and our customers want it. Because we believe that change creates growth and thus returns in the long term,” he said in the blog published on Alecta’s website.

But he called the state “visionless” right now, when it came to forms of cooperation with private capital to create investments for transformation.

“We need a clearer target picture and a clearer collaboration where the pension capital and other actors in the financial market are included,” he said.

“The state needs to explain what kind of Sweden we are going to build through change. This is where the idea of a joint project for Sweden comes in,” said the CEO.

Rather that plastic bag taxes and reduction obligations, Sweden needed new, large-scale and inspiring projects, according to Billing.

When the next parliament and government took office, he said they should focus immediately on creating “a functioning dialogue with us long-term investors to draw up guidelines for what we can, want and should finance and build together”, and make it clear to people what the lawmakers wanted to achieve, he wrote.

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