A look into how Norway’s focus on environmental responsibility and sustainability impacts Norwegian businesses

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All over the world, there’s a growing focus on running businesses sustainably. In Norway, the connection between the nation’s economic sustainability and the sustainability of business entities is quite pronounced, primarily due to the country’s active engagement in business activities. As a result, the trend of setting up and running sustainable businesses in Norway isn’t new.

The nation has a hefty proportion of profitable enterprises that believe businesses can go hand in hand with treating the planet right and taking care of people. Though the sustainability-performance link for corporate entities in Norway is significantly influenced by the company size, volatility, and financial leverage, the emphasis of the majority is on the integration of ecological, social, and economic responsibilities.

As a result, the plans they create and the business journeys these companies take not just focus on delivering their target clients with the best value for their money but also on having a net-positive impact on the society and environment.

Norway’s Commitment to Sustainability

Together with its Nordic neighbours, Norway has become a global leader in environmental responsibility and sustainability. From shopping and business to transportation, power, and eating habits, Norwegians have taken it upon themselves to minimise their impact on the environment and improve the state of the world. The country has accepted, matched, or surpassed international commitments to decrease emissions, from sulphur and carbon dioxide to NOX (Nitrogen Oxides).

Let’s take a look at some of the key achievements of the country in terms of environmental performance and sustainability and how they impact businesses.

1.      A Decarbonised Energy Mix

Norway has a pretty advanced energy transition. Thanks to its abundant hydropower resources, the country’s energy mix has a lower carbon footprint than many of its EU counterparts. Hydropower regularly makes up for over 90% of the total Norwegian power production, with the rest delivered by wind and thermal energy. In the late 19th century, hydropower provided the foundation for Norway’s industrialisation, and since then, it has remained the backbone of the country’s power system.

Norway is also a global leader in the decarbonisation of all its transport sectors. It led electric vehicle adoption from the front. In 2022, 79% of its new passenger car registrations were electric vehicles. If you include plug-in hybrids, the number stood at 87%. Since Norway’s electricity comes almost solely from hydropower, the use of electric cars in the country is particularly clean.

Businesses in Norway are increasingly expected to commit to environmental responsibility and embrace sustainability practices. This includes using renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions (by encouraging employees to walk, cycle to work, or take the bus), and minimising waste.

As its next strategic move to a greener future, the country announced last year that it plans to roll back VAT exemptions, especially for higher-end electric vehicles, and could slash more benefits in the future. This move is to facilitate fewer private cars (even EVs) clogging the roads while encouraging cycling, walking, and taking the bus.

By 2030, Norway’s goal is to become carbon neutral. As a Norwegian business, you will have to cooperate with the government on its mission and lagging could spell trouble. If you haven’t switched to green energy yet or have been postponing the adoption of sustainability practices, now’s the time to buckle up and act.

In addition to focusing on carbon neutrality and growing use of green energy, businesses in Norway should also emphasise reducing their waste. This could be done by cutting down on plastic waste, using compostable packaging materials, encouraging recycling, and applying circular economy practices.

2.      Encouragement to Social Responsibility

Social responsibility is a vital aspect of sustainable businesses in Norway. Traditionally, Norwegian society has enjoyed a close collaboration between the private and public sectors. Thanks to such cooperation and the active role played by the State, Norwegian companies have a strong CSR culture present in them.

Norwegian society and its egalitarian cultural values are based on the tenets of the welfare state, good working conditions, and strong labour rights. This is showcased through the country’s legislation, including the Labour Market Act, the Working Environment Act, the Gender Equality Act, and the Social Welfare Act.

Such cultural values drive the perspective that business is just one of the key institutions of society, and not the most important one. But how does the state’s emphasis on social responsibility guides what businesses need to do? The answer lies in taking a three-pronged approach with fair labour practices, ethical sourcing of products and services, and community contributions.

Businesses in Norway are expected to treat their employees fairly and uphold high labour standards. This includes offering them equitable pay, reasonable working hours, safe working conditions, welcoming diverse opinions, cultures, and values, and providing them with adequate opportunities for professional development without any discrimination. Many businesses in Norway already have a flat power distribution between their employees and the top management to support power-sharing, participation, cooperation, and negotiation in the business domain.

Ethical sourcing of products and/or services is another vital aspect as businesses are expected to avoid walking down the road connected to environmental damage or human rights abuses. Running a sustainable business in Norway usually includes joining hands with local organizations, influential individuals, or the local community as well to drive philanthropic efforts.

3.      The Economic Dimension

There’s a significant economic impact on Norwegian businesses that run or plan to run their operations sustainably. Typically, this refers to the costs associated with conducting thorough research and leveraging creativity and expertise in environmental impact with an eye on continuous learning of efficient ways to create sustainable and coherent systems that are intrinsically ecological.

Though some businesses may not be inclined to bear the initial costs linked to the implementation of sustainable practices, they should focus on the long-term potential benefits. These include improved market reputation, cost reduction, increased efficiency, and even access to new markets, especially in the growing eco-friendly sectors.

As people across the world have become environment-conscious, they have started supporting and buying from brands and businesses that show an unwavering commitment to sustainability. As such businesses are often viewed more positively by customers and investors alike, Norwegian businesses can embrace sustainability to boost their reputation and brand image if they haven’t already taken steps to achieve it.

By focusing on sustainability in Norway, businesses can also bring in precious savings. For instance, by reducing waste, you can save on buying or hiring additional equipment or facilities to handle such waste. Again, with lower (and wiser) consumption of water and energy, you can save significantly.

By reducing costs and waste, Norwegian businesses can also increase operational efficiency, earn more, and boost their bottom line. Sustainable production practices can also help businesses create jobs, which will add to their corporate image of focusing on sustainability and CSR (corporate social responsibility).

Final Words

Sustainable businesses in Norway are increasingly expected to create value across their triple-bottom-line, namely environmental, social, and economic dimensions. If you are a business owner, it pays to remember that sustainability in Norway is no longer a choice.

It has emerged as the focal point to create a net-positive impact on the nation’s society and environment. Be it considering economic profitability to innovate and craft solutions for the world’s climate problems to focusing on nourishing employees, partners, and society at large, and building sustainable and coherent systems that are intrinsically ecological, there are many ways your business can contribute to the cause.

How ready is your Norwegian business for sustainability? And while we are focusing on sustainability, if you are looking for sustainable recruitment that benefits your business in the long run, contact us at InHunt World now!

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