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GREEN

How Sweden wants to make repairing things cheaper

Sweden's government wants to give people tax breaks on repairing everything from shoes to washing machines as part of a new green drive to help the environment by making the country less wasteful.

How Sweden wants to make repairing things cheaper
"There's no business like shoe business": A repair in process at Skomakeren Henry in Lund.
In their proposals for its upcoming autumn budget, the ruling Social Democrat and Green parties plan to slash value added taxes on repairs to bicycles, clothes, and shoes, and to bring in a new tax break for people who carry out more expensive repairs to fridges, dishwashers and washing machine. 
 
At the same time, the government plans to make buying new white goods and computers more expensive, by slapping on an additional “chemical tax” to cover the cost to the environment of substances which are hard to recycle. 
 
“This issue was a really low priority under the last government,” said Per Bolund, the country’s minister for finance markets and consumption.  “But if we want to solve the problems of sustainability and the environment we have to work on consumption.” 
 
As well as encouraging them with lower prices, the government also plans a publicity drive to encourage people to repair their things more often, with 43 million Swedish Kronor  (SEK) allocated for pushing the new plan. 
 
“One area we are really looking at is so-called ‘nudging’, Boland said. “That means, through various methods, making it easier for people to do the right thing.” 
 
He said that might be as simple as putting in clearer signs directing people to the nearest recycling facilities.
 
“From my point of view, it's not necessarily about consuming less, but more looking at what we consume and how.” 
 
The government estimates that the tax breaks for repairing white goods will cost 190m Swedish kronor a year, while  the reduction in VAT for reparations of cycles, clothes and shoes would come to 270m kronor a year. 
 
The new chemicals tax is expected to raise about two billion kronor a year. 

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ENVIRONMENT

Gothenburg kicks off green bond sale

Gothenburg in western Sweden became the first city in Scandinavia to issue green bonds to fund public investment when it sold off 500 million kronor worth of debt on Friday.

Gothenburg kicks off green bond sale

“In 30 minutes we got bids for €1.25 billion, says Magnus Borelius, finance director for the City of Gothenburg, told the local Göteborgs Posten (GP) daily.

The money that the municipality pulls in through the the bonds is earmarked for environmental projects. The funds generated on Friday will be used for a water treatment plant.

City of Gothenburg is the first public body in the Nordic region to issue green bonds in accordance with the World Bank’s rules. The World Bank is behind the project to issue green bond and is responsible for the definition.

IN PICTURES: See stunning pictures of Gothenburg after sunset

Magnus Borelius underlined that the move is not a means to simply increase the debt carried by the city.

“This is not a question of increasing debt levels in the city, it is about swapping money for green money.”

The green bonds have been described by the municipal council chairwoman Anneli Hultén as an important step in the city’s environmental work.

“In practice it means that the city can make use of its strong standing in the finance markets to move towards a more environmentally-friendly world,” she said to GP.

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