All posts by Margrethe Harboe

Hydro Commerce first plant in the US certified by DNV to produce Hydro CIRCAL

The aluminium plant in Commerce, Texas is Hydro’s first plant in the US certified to produce Hydro CIRCAL, a low-carbon recycled aluminium product containing at least 75% post-consumer, end of life scrap.

“With auto manufacturers switching to electric vehicles, combined with the growing need for aluminium, we see this as an opportunity to bring large-scale production of Hydro CIRCAL. We help forward-leaning customers reach their climate ambitions by delivering products with a lower carbon footprint that promote a more circular economy,” says Trond Gjellesvik, President of Hydro Aluminium Metal, North America.

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Norway Set For Cruise Travel Record In 2022

Four million cruise passengers are expected to visit Norway during 2022 on more cruise ships than ever before.

Fears that the pandemic would put people off traveling by cruise ship seem to have disappeared, at least in Scandinavia. The figures from Cruise Norway show that 500 more port calls are registered this year than in 2019, the last full year with no pandemic-related travel restrictions.

A ban on cruise calls was one of the first travel restrictions to be introduced by the Norwegian government in March 2020. But with all travel restrictions removed earlier this year, the cruise season is already well underway in Norway.

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Empire Wind selects Edison Chouest Offshore to provide plug-in hybrid service operations vessel

Empire Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Equinor and bp, has awarded a long-term service operations vessel charter agreement to US marine transportation provider, Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO).

The plug-in hybrid service operations vessel (SOV) will be the first in the US offshore wind sector capable of sailing partly on battery power.

The vessel will accommodate up to 60 wind turbine technicians and will be utilized for the safe and efficient operations and maintenance of the Empire Wind 1 and Empire Wind 2 offshore wind farms. The charter agreement has a fixed period of 10 years, with commencement in the mid-2020s.

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Defigo strengthens foothold in the United States with new distribution agreement

Defigo, leader in digital access control solutions for residential and commercial buildings, has announced a new distribution agreement with Brooklyn Low Voltage Supply (BLVS), wholesaler of security solutions for buildings in the greater New York area.

‍The deal will see BLVS act as Defigo’s logistics and distribution partner in the states of New York and California. This move strengthens Defigo’s foothold in one of the largest and most important markets in the PropTech world, and allows them to provide their solutions to even more commercial and residential real estate companies. Thanks to this agreement, more tenants in the greater New York area will be able to take advantage of Defigo’s all-in-one access control solution.

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Norway Raises Wealth Tax, Scraps EV Sales Tax Exemption

Norway’s coalition government is raising the wealth tax and cutting a sales tax exemption on electric vehicles as it seeks to stem spending from its wealth fund and prevent the economy from overheating.

The government proposes raising the wealth tax rate for joint stock companies, mutual funds and banks to 0.25% from 0.15% from the current year and will phase out the value added tax exemption for electric cars from 2023, according to a website statement on the revised budget on Thursday. The exemption will be replaced by a subsidy for EV purchases of as much as 500,000 kroner ($50,700).

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AmCham 2022 AGM & Transatlantic Business Assembly

AmCham Annual General Meeting & Transatlantic Business Assembly

Joined by valued members and key government stakeholders, AmCham board members and staff hosted another successful Annual General Meeting and Transatlantic Business Assembly. Simultaneously serving as, what one speaker dubbed, the ‘unofficial housewarming party’ as well as host, Simula welcomed guests to their newly opened downtown Oslo campus for an evening of financial disclosures, political debate, and American wine – supported by 1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel Aged wines. 

With only one departure, AmCham’s board of directors was reconfirmed for another term, with 3M’s Ketil Nordengen again taking the position of chair. Ketil shared his thoughts on the solid work AmCham has done throughout 2021 and 2022 in supporting the transatlantic relationship and business ties between the US and Norway, and expressed his appreciation for the strong political ties between the two countries as Europe faces war so close to home.

Speaking to the many initiatives taken on by the chamber in the past year, as well as upcoming issues of advocacy and member engagement, each of AmCham’s four staff members discussed their particular area of focus and considerations for the coming months.

Following this summary of AmCham’s work was the annual Transatlantic Business Assembly, this year with key note speeches from US Embassy Charges d’Affaires Sharon Hudson-Dean as well as Member of Parliament and Chair of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Ine Eriksen Søreide. After two deeply thoughtful addresses on the importance of transatlantic allyship and trade-partnership, accompanied by disavowal of the current aggressions against Ukraine, Hudson-Dean and Søreide were joined by Norse Atlantic Airways CEO Bjørn Tore Larsen, 3M Country Lead and Director Global ECO Sales Effectiveness, Ketil Nordengen, and DNV’s Director of Certification Thomas Vogth-Eriksen for a panel discussion on the state of transatlantic business relationships.

Reflecting on the current ‘perfect storm’ of conflict, food shortages and energy crises, panelists discussed the role of the transatlantic relationship. Each expressed optimism in their views on the EU-US partnership moving forward – whether represented through the Supplementary Defence Cooperation Agreement, the upcoming Trade and Technology Council, or collaborations coming out of COP26.

AmCham was thrilled to have been able to host such a thoughtful and provocative discussion amongst these business and political stalwarts and looks forward to the year ahead. It will surely be filled with creative collaborations, acute political involvement, and strong member-relationships.

AmCham Board of Directors

Ketil

Chair

Ketil Nordengen

3M – Director Global ECO Sales Effectiveness

Kristine-Beitland

First Vice Chair

Kristine Beitland

Microsoft Norge – Corporate Affairs Director

Charlie-Lea-167x209

Second Vice Chair

Charlie Lea

KPMG – Partner

Treasurer

Michael Klem

SR-Bank Forretningspartner – Associate

 

Liaison

Vidar Keyn

US Embassy – Head of Commercial Section

Director

Muhammed Ali

MSD Norway – Managing Director

Director

Andreas Berg

Tailormade Consulting – Managing Director

Director

Per Hynne

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Norway – Head of Public Affairs, Communication & Sustainability

Director

Elisabeth Hellemose

AIG Europe Limited – Branch Manager Norway

Director

Pål Rokke

Citi Norway – Country Officer

Director

Stanley Stewart

Partner – DLA Piper

Director

Trine Strømsnes

Cisco Norge – Managing Director

Director

Thomas Vogth-Eriksen

DNV – Director of Certification

AmCham Sustainability Forum: A Legal Roadmap & Changing Climates’ Business Impact

AmCham Sustainability Forum: A Legal Roadmap & Changing Climates’ Business Impact

The latest AmCham Sustainability Forum convened on Earth Day at Selmer’s sun-filled offices. The first in-person gathering since before the pandemic gave opportunity for long-sought-after exchanges of insights, as well as business cards, for the participants representing diverse industry groups.

Presenters

Tone Sørfonn Moe – Associate

Nora Eikenæs – Associate

Jostein Mælan – COO Weather Insights

Following an introduction by Selmer Partner Øyvind Olimstad, Associates Tone Sørfonn Moe and Nora Eikenæs could attest to the complexity and rapid development of ESG and sustainability and related statutory requirements. Part of Selmer’s growing sustainability team, Tone and Nora expertly presented how companies can, to the extent that it is relevant to each company, approach the EU’s action plan for financing sustainable development, now included in the new Norwegian legislation “law on sustainable finance”, the European Commission’s proposed “Social Corporate Governance” directive and the Transparency Act, to name a few.

From a business standpoint, the different regulations combined will ultimately result in a more holistic perspective on ESG and sustainability and can be condensed to: Do good but also do no harm. Meaning, that even though a company receives a high sustainability rating on one of its initiatives, it must perform well on, and disclose all its relevant results to maintain its good standing. A common definition across borders will establish trust for what is considered sustainable for investment purposes. Although companies will need to allocate time and resources to comply, they will be rewarded if the markets work as intended.

Selmer_ESG
Image: Selmer

Digitalization as a Driving Force

StormGeo, a developer of weather intelligence tools, helps companies prepare for severe weather threats to protect people and assets by utilizing location-specific forecasts and twenty-four-seven access to meteorologists and data scientists. As Jostein Mælan, COO of Weather Insights proclaimed, “safety above all else!,” is the guiding principle of what has become a global company located in over 15 countries with more than 600 employees.

Mælan, who was affiliated with the company in its early beginnings, explained how extreme weather is on the uprise, with weather phenomena such as hurricanes becoming stronger in force. Operating at the intersection of climate change and digitalization drives StormGeo’s business, with meteorology propelling advancements of AI and machine learning for global models. Participants were shown a collaborative project between StormGeo and a leading construction and development company in Norway where a custom weather system was created, with the hope that the industry ultimately will adopt similar project management tools to ensure a more intelligent allocation of time and resources, whilst simultaneously ensuring the safety and well-being of employees.

Mælan then explained how forecasting the spot price for EU energy systems is part of their weather analytics services, providing much-needed predictions in today’s volatile energy market. As for markets in Norway, the North will continue to attract consumers of electricity, namely industries, due to the competitive price point. In addition to weather intelligence, companies rely on StormGeo’s ship routing services. With the reality of climate change that is upon us, StormGeo’s offerings are only expected to grow.

About Sustainability Forum

Future success is dependent upon running a sustainable business – for people, planet, and profit. Hence, AmCham brings select, cross-industry member company representatives together on an ongoing basis to discuss opportunities, facilitate open exchange and determine how AmCham members can best contribute to Norwegian and US sustainability agendas going forward.

Read more about our Sustainability Forum and please contact Margrethe.Harboe@amcham.no for interest in future meetings.

Norway’s Norse Atlantic To Launch From 4 U.S. Airports, Fares From $129

Norway-based startup airline Norse Atlantic Airways has announced the long-awaited details of its first routes. The latest airline to attempt to find a sustainable business model in low-cost transatlantic air travel will take to the skies in mid-June. Ticket sales have begun with one-way promotional fares starting from as low as $129.

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AmChams in Europe Meets in Washington, DC and Raleigh, NC

An executive delegation of AmChams in Europe representatives is attending the annual 2022 US Conference between May 9-13. Executives and other AmCham representatives from more than 30 countries have assembled in a delegation to the U.S. capital, Washington D.C., and Raleigh, North Carolina.

The international delegation is visiting Washington, D.C. to discuss policy with leading representatives of the U.S. administration, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Department of State, and Congress. In North Carolina, they will visit some of the most prominent companies and meet with business leaders, such as the president of Epic Games and the founder of the SAS Institute. With its accelerators and universities, Raleigh represents a compelling ecosystem of science and business, enabling a symbiotic transfer of knowledge between them.

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