Category: AmCham News
On February 26th, AmCham member representatives convened at McDonald’s downtown Oslo training center for this year’s first AmCham Sustainability Forum.
Combining a wide range of industries and backgrounds, forum participants engaged in a rapidly evolving discussion around the challenges and opportunities of sustainable operations in Norway, focusing particularly on regulatory complexities, innovation, and communications strategies.
When one thinks of McDonald’s, thoughts naturally wander to the American classics that made the restaurant a global household name. McDonald’s Hilde Øverby, however, made the case for adding another ingredient to the mix – sustainability.
Noting the imminent release of McDonald’s Norway’s latest sustainability report, Øverby, Head of QA and CSR, started the forum off by discussing how McDonald’s has taken the environmental concerns of their customers and stakeholders to heart. The company has eagerly integrated sustainable practices across their substantial Norwegian and worldwide operations.
Øverby reminded participants, however, that sustainability is more than a buzzword and a growing array of quantifiable metrics. At its core, sustainability is about people.
As a reflection of their commitment to people, McDonald’s, the largest employer of youths in Norway, instituted their Grønn Utdanning Program in 2010. A partnership between McDonald’s, Felleskjøpet and Norges Bygdeungdomslag, the program encourages young Norwegians to seek careers in agriculture.
After the presentation from McDonald’s, forum participants launched into a discussion on the challenges associated with leveraging sustainable practices into sustainable brands – brands that resonate with the environmental concerns of consumers and politicians.
The importance of transparency in creating authentic public engagement was a primary focus in the discussion on member company best practices, particularly the use of social media in generating awareness around technological advancements and company initiatives.
The conversation then turned to common challenges in Norway. “Norway is sleeping, they want a lot but they do not have the infrastructure to implement it,” said one participant, referencing public official knowledge of industry-specific sustainable technology. This sentiment quickly became a common thread throughout the remainder of the discussion – participants agreed that the lack of regulatory cohesion and predictability throughout municipalities in Norway had created confusion among both consumers and politicians, in addition to making it difficult to develop scalable, long-term sustainable strategies.
As a solution to this information asymmetry, participants concurred that more opportunities for interdisciplinary and cross-industry discussions between stakeholders – ideally creating a dialogue that can be utilized in the development of new regulatory regimes – are needed.
This forum included participants from BI Norwegian Business School, Circle K, Coca-Cola, Interimleder, McDonald’s, Mondelez, Orkla, Philip Morris International, Roche, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Scandic, and Starbucks.
Many AmCham companies have been on the sustainability journey for some time, while others are trying to find their way to a sustainable future. Though our members are represented through the full specter, we know that several are at the forefront within their respective industries.
Hence, AmCham brings select, cross-industry member company representatives together on a quarterly basis to discuss opportunities, share best practices and find out how AmCham members can play a role in the Norwegian sustainability agenda going forward. Please contact us for interest in future forums.
Published: February 22, 2020