In this paper legitimation of targets for state-owned enterprises (SOEs) is studied. In particular the study is focused on how conflicting targets are legitimized in consolidated government accounts before and after Agenda 2030 was signed. At a UN summit in 2015, representatives of most countries signed an agreement to adopt 17 global goals on sustainability. This is to be realized by 2030, which explains the term Agenda 2030. SOEs are hybrid organizations which are guided by combinations of different principles i. e. from private companies and the public sector. Their operations are monitored and their performance is associated with the government which also serves as the active owner. A discourse legitimation approach is used (van Leeuwen 2007, 2008) to study Swedish consolidated government accounts. The report is considered exemplary and the goals are ambitious. Since the introduction of Agenda 2030, the ultimate goals of SOEs have been rephrased and a configuration of the targets developed. The consolidated accounts become more political while other targets than economic ones gain prominence. This shift is legitimized by references to international corporations and commitments that are expected to serve as role models, implying that they are morally good companies contributing to a better world. The Swedish government is constructed as the responsible parent who ensures progress. Hence, the global goals of Agenda 2030 are legitimized, while they in turn legitimize state ownership with the government as an active owner of companies.
Agenda 2030, consolidated government accounts, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), discourse legitimation approach, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), political-economic text, State-Owned Enterprise (SOE)