All posts by Margrethe Harboe

Third U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council Ministerial Meeting

On Monday, December 5, the United States will host the European Union for the third Trade and Technology Council (TTC) Ministerial Meeting at the University of Maryland, College Park.

The U.S. delegation will be led by United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai. The EU delegation will be led by European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis and European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager.

More information HERE.

Icelandair: New service to Detroit

As part of its 2023 network, Icelandair has announced its newest North American gateway: Detroit, Michigan. Seasonal flights from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) to Reykjavík, Iceland (KEF) will begin May 18, 2023 with four weekly non-stop flights through October 30, 2023. Flight 872 will depart to Iceland at 8:30pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays utilizing a 160-seat Boeing 737MAX. Return flight 873 will depart Iceland bound for Detroit at 5:00pm on the same days and arrive at 6:25pm.

The flight time from The Motor City to Iceland is approximately six hours, with connections available at Icelandair’s Keflavík International Airport hub to more than 25 destinations in Iceland, Greenland, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Continental Europe. Icelandair passengers can also take a Stopover in Iceland for up to 7 nights at no additional airfare, en route to their final destination.

Read full article.

AmCham Thanksgiving Charity Dinner 2022

AmCham Thanksgiving Charity Dinner 2022

TG22 - website graphic

This year’s AmCham Thanksgiving Charity Dinner brought more member and partner leaders together than ever before at Hotel Bristol for an evening of gratitude and fellowship – the most important Thanksgiving feast ingredients!

With 3M, KPMG and Merck ‘s steadfast Thanksgiving Charity Dinner support, Bristol Hall served as a splendid venue for AmCham business leaders and government representatives to gather and celebrate, what is for some, the favorite holiday of the year. The evening was made complete with a raffle and auction, where generous prize donations from member companies raised 120 000 NOK for this year’s charitable partner, The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

Traditional Thanksgiving platters with turkey and trimmings were composed by Hotel Bristol’s Executive Chef and his team, sure to evoke a sense of home for the Americans in the room. The dinner was accompanied by California wines 1000 Stories Chardonnay and Bourbon Barrel Aged Zinfandel, followed by pecan, pumpkin and apple pies.

Valued Partnerships

Representing charity partner NRC, Laila Matar provided striking images and anecdotes from her own travels, including from Ukraine. She explained how the organization works to protect the rights of millions of people who are forced to flee.

To follow, State Secretary Erling Rimestad, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, affirmed the impact and importance of continued transatlantic collaboration, before honorably carving the first slice of turkey.

Sharon Hudson-Dean, US Embassy Oslo, addressed AmCham members, thanking them for the continued close working relationship. “You and your companies play a critical role in our relationship with Norway – something that we do not take for granted.”

On the green transition, and from a recent meeting with the US Assistant Secretary of Energy for Carbon Capture and Storage, Hudson-Dean noted that ”Norway has so much to teach us about these cutting-edge technologies, and we are now finally putting millions of US government dollars into the rapid adoption of every possible way to cap global temperature warming. Together, we can do this faster, more efficiently, and at scale. It’s a winning business partnership.”

"Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year, as it is for many Americans. Although this is a very commercial crowd, we all come together tonight for non-commercial reasons. Thanksgiving is about appreciation, gratitude, family, loved ones, and the joy of preparing and sharing a wonderful meal."

Sharon Hudson-Dean

A Lively Display of Auction Paddles

After dinner, a blend of luck and competitive bidding combined for the charity raffle drawing and auction. Auctioneer Bill Harris encouragingly announced bids as winners won a broad selection of coveted prizes – ranging from plane tickets from Icelandair and Norse Atlantic Airways to a stay and spa package from Støtvig Hotel.

With the raffle and auction complete, AmCham Managing Director Jason Turflinger announced that this year’s auction and raffle had raised a record-breaking 120 000 NOK for NRC and their work protecting displaced people and supporting them as they build a new future. 

We are truly grateful for the collaborative spirit of our burgeoning bilateral community and thank everyone who joined us for the evening.

Raffle & Auction Prize Sponsors

Photo Gallery

DNV and Reodor Studios aim to solve historic challenge by creating a digital service for sustainable wind farm decommissioning

DNV is moving ahead in collaboration with Reodor Studios to create a digital service that will make it easy to plan for sustainable decommissioning and recycling when a wind farm has reached the end of its life cycle.

In the 1970s, the wind power industry boomed, and thousands of wind farms were built around the world. Now, 50 years later, the world faces a historic challenge: what do you do with a 300-tonne wind turbine when it has reached the end of its life? ReWind, a brand-new digital service, aims to address this key issue for the wind industry. 

Today, most decommissioned wind turbines are buried underground, for lack of a better solution. In 2020 Bloomberg highlighted the situation in Casper, Wyoming in USA, where 870 wind turbine blades are buried under a landfillWindEurope estimates that 25 thousand tonnes of wind turbine blades will have to be recycled by 2025, and 52 thousand tonnes by 2030.

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New air surveillance radars to the Norwegian Armed Forces

The Norwegian Defence Material Agency (NDMA) signed a contract with Lockheed Martin on 17 of November 2022 for delivery of eight military air surveillance radars with an option for three additional radars.

The contract marks an important milestone for the Norwegian defence sector. Three of the new radars will be installed in existing locations, replacing current systems, while five will be installed in new locations. The new radars will enable the Norwegian Armed Forces to maintain its continuous surveillance of both Norwegian and surrounding air space, acting as NATO’s eyes in the north.

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GE Healthcare satser stort i Norge

Norges største farmasøytiske bedrift, GE Healthcare, gjør investeringer til en verdi av 800 millioner kroner i fabrikken i Lindesnes. Det er for å utvide produksjonskapasitet for legemiddelsubststansen iohexol som brukes i jodholdige kontrastmidler. Den 450 mål store tomten hvor Lindesnes-fabrikken er lokalisert, har vært i drift siden 1974 og har i dag over 450 arbeidsplasser. Satsingen vil skape 100 flere arbeidsplasser.

– GE Healthcare er Norges største farmasøytiske bedrift og viser med denne store investeringen at vi satser videre på fabrikken i Lindesnes og våre dyktige kollegaer der, sier Cathrine Thomassen, som er administrerende direktør i GE Healthcare Norge, i en pressemelding.

Les hele artikkelen her. 

Yara prices debut US dollar green notes offering

Yara International ASA priced its debut offering of USD 600 million 7.378% Green Notes due 2032 (the “Notes”). The Notes will be issued pursuant to Rule 144A/Regulation S.

Yara intends to allocate an amount equivalent to the net proceeds from this offering to finance, or refinance in whole or in part, one or more, new or existing, green investments or assets in accordance with Yara’s green financing framework. Yara’s green financing framework and a second party opinion thereon issued by CICERO Shades of Green are available at Yara’s webpage at the following link: https://www.yara.com/investor-relations/reports-presentations/.

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Five steps the US must take to double down on commercial diplomacy

In recent years, China has greatly stepped up its diplomatic and commercial outreach to countries from the South Pacific and Latin America to Africa and the Middle East. In fact, in 2019, China overtook the U.S. in the number of diplomatic outposts it maintains around the globe. At the same time, Beijing’s trade and investment programs, including the Belt and Road initiative and new infrastructure and development deals, have expanded to dozens of countries.  

The contrast with the U.S. is stark. Our federal international affairs budget has been largely flat over the past decade, which is also how long it’s been since the U.S. added to the list of 20 countries where we have trade agreements in place.  

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Norge og USA med felles initiativ for utslippsfri skipsfart

Statsminister Jonas Gahr Støre og USAs klimautsending John Kerry lanserte The Green Shipping Challenge under klimatoppmøtet i Sharm el Sheikh mandag. Dette er et initiativ som skal øke innsatsen for grønn skipsfart. Norge vil og kan lede an i klimaomstillingen av skipsfarten, og regjeringen har meldt inn bidrag om økt innsats her hjemme og internasjonalt.

– Vi står midt i en klimakrise, og vi må øke innsatsen på alle områder for å holde 1,5-gradersmålet innen rekkevidde. Skipsfart er en viktig internasjonal kilde til utslipp, derfor har president Biden og jeg gjennom The Green Shipping Challenge invitert statsledere og industri til å gjøre mer for å få ned utslippene fra skipsfart, sier statsminister Jonas Gahr Støre.

Les hele artikkelen.

AmCham Sustainability Forum: A Norwegian Agriculture Technology Innovation & Transparency for Positive Change

AmCham Sustainability Forum: A Norwegian Agriculture Technology Innovation & Transparency for Positive Change

AmCham members representing ten diverse industries convened at Orkla’s Oslo headquarters to learn about transparency in supply chain and packaging and a Norwegian innovation that is reshaping opportunities within agriculture.

Presenters:

Ole Kristian Sivertsen – President & Group CEO

Ellen Behrens – Director Sustainability

Turning Sand Into Soil

Desertification is the degradation of land leading to loss of biological productivity, as soil is unable to retain water and nutrients. Restoring the soil’s capability is one solution to combat desertification and water scarcity issues. With us from Stavanger, Ole Kristian Sivertsen, President and Group CEO of Desert Control, introduced participants to the company’s Norwegian innovation in climate-smart agriculture technology, LNC (liquid natural clay), and how it contributes to combat desertification, soil degradation and water scarcity. The company’s current projects are primarily in the Middle East and western United States.

In brief terms, LNC-treated soil has, as opposed to sandy soil; small particle sizes, a large surface area, and small pore space, leading the treated soil to significantly increase its water retention capacity. On average, according to The World Bank, agriculture accounts for 70% of all freshwater withdrawals globally. With a growing population, there is an acute need to limit water usage. Desert Control is Making Earth Green Again, and has made it their mission to “preserve the prosperity of life.” As Sivertsen said “soil is not dirt, it is grounds for living organisms” underlining the inherent qualities that lie in soil to solve global challenges in agriculture.

"Soil is not dirt, it is grounds for living organisms."

Ole Kristian Sivertsen, Desert Control

Embracing Transparency

Orkla is a leading branded consumer goods company with 300 brands in 22 countries, and it is their mission to improve everyday life with sustainable and enjoyable local brands. Ellen Behrens, Orkla’s Director Sustainability, has since 2009 been integral to the development and implementation of Orkla’s sustainability strategy.

Behrens presented how Orkla is embracing transparency through supply chain due diligence and steps they are taking towards circular packaging commitment. On Orkla’s approach to sustainability, Behrens explained “It must start with understanding impact,” and in turn reduce negative impact and transform that into positive change. For any consumer goods company, challenges include indulgence products’ lifestyle impacts and ensuring an ethical process of sourcing raw materials.

The Norwegian Transparency Act entered into force in July 2022 and requires enterprises to conduct due diligence assessments, including human rights due diligence. Behrens explained that adhering to this type of reporting is necessary to earn trust from consumers and stakeholders, and importantly, that being honest about challenges in the supply chain is ultimately the first step towards improvement.

As for packaging, Orkla requests their suppliers to classify products according to it’s packaging classification criteria. A leader of Emballasjeforeningen’s Forum for Circular Plastic Packaging, Behrens provided some enlightening insight on plastics, including debunking the common misconception that biobased biodegradable or compostable plastics will solve the word’s plastic consumption challenge. The solution, rather, lies in the materials’ recyclability.

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.