Tag Archives: Sustainability Forum

Forum Summary: AmCham Sustainability Forum – May 2019

The Journey to a Sustainable Future

Participants gathered at AmCham’s offices for the Q2 edition of our Sustainability Forum. Featuring presentations from Philip Morris Norway’s Pia Prestmo and RCL Cruises’ Geir Kronbæck, the forum addressed the processes behind implementing sustainable business practices, highlighting the fact that sustainability is not a fixed goal, but rather a journey of continuous improvement, innovation, and strategic evolution.

Sustainability at PMI

Philip Morris Norway’s Manager of External Affairs Pia Prestmo kicked off the event with an engaging presentation covering PMI’s global sustainability transformation. Prestmo began by highlighting the cross-industry diversity in the room, noting how different industries have the ability to contribute to a diverse range of sustainability goals, noting specifically the UN’s 2017 Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), a primary focus throughout PMI’s sustainability strategy.

For PMI, SDG #3, good health and well-being, and SDG #8, decent work and economic growth, were identified as core areas for PMI’s sustainability efforts.

Regarding SDG #8, Prestmo noted the efforts PMI has made in working to secure safe working conditions and equal pay for farmers and suppliers across the world through implementation of its Agricultural Labor Practices (ALP) program in 2011.

Prestmo noted SDG #3 as a critical area of focus for PMI, commenting on the significant role that PMI can play in moving nicotine users along the risk continuum from combustible tobacco products to less harmful, smoke-free products.

She then turned to public-private cooperation, highlighting how important it is for government officials, politicians, and regulatory bodies to include the business community in crafting solutions and drafting policy. “More often than not, the solutions for a wide range of sustainability issues lie with the business community, and it is important that public officials understand the innovation power our companies possess.”

​“More often than not, the solutions for a wide range of sustainability issues lie with the business community, and it is important that public officials understand the innovation power our companies possess.”

Pia Prestmo

Philip Morris Norway

"Seastainability": RCL’s Corporate Sustainability Journey Since 1992

RCL Cruises’ General Manager for the Nordics Geir Kronbæck followed Prestmo, leading participants through the company’s sustainability efforts, the bottom-line boosting effects of sustainable business practices, and RCL’s experience working with public officials and local communities on sustainability issues, noting the importance of a long-term approach to sustainability.

“As Norwegians, we often like to highlight the things which we do best – take cross-country skiing, for example. Sustainability isn’t like that, though. Even though people, cities, and countries are ‘competing’ to be the best or most sustainable, sustainability is about continuing to improve – there is no finish line,” he noted.

After taking member company participants through RCL’s approach to sustainability – one extending from ship design to HR strategy – Kronbæck, like Prestmo before him, emphasized the importance of public officials working in concert with businesses on sustainability issues.

Such dialogues, he noted, would help the government in creating regulatory platforms in line with available technology and adhering to feasible timeframes. He concluded by emphasizing the importance of predictable sustainability frameworks for the cruise industry, “Building a cruise ship is a considerable undertaking, and we cannot build them as fast as some politicians would like to change regulations.”

“As Norwegians, we often like to highlight the things which we do best – take cross-country skiing, for example. Sustainability isn’t like that, though. Even though people, cities, and countries are ‘competing’ to be the best or most sustainable, sustainability is about continuing to improve – there is no finish line.”

Geir Kronbæck

RCL Cruises

The Path Forward

After the conclusion of Kronbæck’s presentation, participants engaged in a roundtable discussion that complemented the themes brought up in both presentations. One participant highlighted the importance of understanding the connection between different types of emissions and understanding the linkages between them. Another noted the importance of increasing industry understanding amongst the public and making sure the business community works together to create sustainable frameworks that foster growth instead of hindering it.

About the AmCham Sustainability Forum

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 spectrum, 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. Read more about our Sustainability forum here, and please contact us for interest in future forums.

Forum Summary: AmCham Sustainability Forum – February 2019

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.

More than just burgers and fries

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.

The systematic, long-term management and coordination of environmental, social, and economic principles to ensure responsible, ethical, and lasting business success.

Corporate sustainability as defined by AmCham Norway’s cross-industry Sustainability Forum.

Regulatory Cohesion and Predictability in Norway

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.

About

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.