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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure SE-2020-12/1361 – measures in Sweden

Essity changes core business to manufacture protective masks

Essity ställer om produktionen för att tillverka munskydd

Country Sweden , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 16 March 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Company practices
Category Reorientation of business activities
– Change of production/innovation
Author Anna-Karin Gustafsson (Oxford Research) and Eurofound
Measure added 30 October 2020 (updated 13 May 2021)

Background information

The Swedish hygiene product company Essity reacted to the higher demand of protective masks in the society and the health care sector, and have ever since April 2020 redirected their production to manufacture masks. The rapid change has been possible thanks to a close collaboration with the state research institute Rise, which has been able to test and approve the masks in record time.

Content of measure

The Swedish hygiene product company Essity, which normally manufactures diapers, toilet paper and wound care products, was in mid-March, among several companies that the Swedish government consulted, regarding if they had the opportunity to produce any of the products that the health care needed, in the absence of emergency stocks.

A month later, Essity was one of the first companies to be able to deliver protective masks through an agreement that was finalised with the National Board of Health and Welfare. The masks are of the type surgeon type 2R, and are manufactured in the factory outside Gothenburg.

The first one million masks was donated to the Swedish health & elderly care services via the National Board of Health and Welfare.

Use of measure

The production facility in Gothenburg has the capacity to produce three million masks a month. Essity has also purchased a machine for large-scale production of surgical masks which has a production capacity of 30 million masks a month. Preparations to manufacture face masks are also under way at several of the Group’s plants in other countries.

In October 2020. Essity reported a manufacture pace of 1.2 million masks a week. The company is now expanding its warehouse by 2,300 square meters adjacent to its Mölnlycke facility. The masks are now manufactured to all citizens and not only to health care staff.


  • Health and safety
  • Other topics
  • Solidarity

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Particular professions
Workers in care facilities
Companies providing essential services
Applies to all citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Company level


There is no information on the involvement of the social partner's.

Views and reactions

There is no information on the reaction to the measure by the social partner's.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      C - Manufacturing C32 Other manufacturing
    • Occupation (ISCO level 2)
      Health associate professionals
      Health professionals



Eurofound (2020), Essity changes core business to manufacture protective masks, measure SE-2020-12/1361 (measures in Sweden), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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