The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) is Sweden’s largest and most influential business federation representing 49 member organizations and 60 000 member companies with over 1.6 million employees. It was founded in 2001 through the merger between the Swedish Employers’ Confederation (SAF, founded in 1902) and the Federation of Swedish Industry (SI, founded in 1910).
Close to 70 percent of the Confederation’s member companies have fewer than 10 employees, while only 1.5 percent have 250 employees or more. While virtually all of Sweden’s multinationals are members, these figures reflect the great number of small, entrepreneurial companies in Sweden’s thriving business environment.
In a nation with a long tradition of strong unions and a government committed to an egalitarian society, the role of the Confederation is critical in protecting, supporting and promoting the interests of businesses as well as in creating broad popular support for the value and importance of enterprise. A key Confederation position is that businesses are crucial for the existence of a prosperous society.
The long tradition of highly centralized relations with government and labor has given the confederation a unique role in the Swedish society and it is difficult to compare it with business organizations outside the Nordic countries.