Sustainable and "Made in Norway"

by Sigurd Fjærtoft-Andersen and Thomas Hagen


Skyscrapers. Photo.

On 15 January 2024, the Norwegian Minister of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Jan Christian Vestre, introduced a new national labelling initiative for sustainable Norwegian products and solutions called "Made in Norway". The label is intended to signify shared Norwegian independent values, with the purpose of enabling Norwegian businesses to take international positions and to command and obtain higher prices for their products and solutions in international markets. Hence, the label will function as a scheme for origin labelling of Norwegian-made products and solutions, enhancing a visible characteristic of origin, sustainability and responsibility.

"Made in Norway" is envisioned as a protected trademark to be used exclusively for Norwegian products exported abroad. Functioning as a quality reference marker, the label is expected to elevate the perceived value of Norwegian products and consequently increase the international willingness to pay for Norwegian products and other offerings. The label is a strategic component of the broader Norwegian export reform known as "Hele Norge Eksporterer" introduced by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries in March 2022, with the ambitious goal of increasing non-oil and gas exports by 50 percent by 2030. As Norway is often associated with responsibility, clean air and beautiful nature, a purpose of launching the label is also to enable Norwegian businesses to take advantage of such qualities in marketing and other business activities.

The practical administration of the label will be managed by Innovasjon Norge which, among other things, is set to ensure industry neutrality and establish trust in the label in the public and the market. In terms of logistics and practical management, Innovasjon Norge will oversee the administration of the label with a designated budget of NOK 14 million. However, Norwegian companies' use of the label is not cost free. The initial establishment cost for a business intending to use the label is NOK 15,000. In addition to such establishment cost comes an annual license fee calculated on the basis of a price model depending on each business' annual turnover, to which such license fee can vary within the range of NOK 5,000 to NOK 50,000.

To qualify for using the "Made in Norway" label, businesses must demonstrate adherence to several criteria selected based on the purpose of strengthening and communicating Norwegian values. More precisely, the businesses intending to use the mark must demonstrate that i) a substantial portion of their product or solution is produced in Norway; ii) the product or solution aligns with zero-emission society goals; iii) the product or solution contributes to at least one of the UN's sustainable development goals; and iv) the product or solution does not harm any of the EU's environmental goals. As regards to businesses' application for use of the label, businesses can apply at product or solution level, provided that such products or solutions adhere to the specific criteria.

In addition, the applicant must, during the application process, also confirm that assessments have been made to uncover risks of any negative impact on people, society and the environment which may be linked to the business and its chain of supply. The applicant is also required to demonstrate that the business has adopted internal control systems enabling the business to handle any identified risks of negative impact in a responsible manner. Additionally, the applicant must assess, justify and document that use of the label on the relevant products and solutions will not be misleading for consumers, in line with the ban against misleading marketing under the Norwegian Marketing Act. As regards to foreign businesses' use of the label, Innovasjon Norge has indicated that there might be an opening to authorize use of the label if the foreign business satisfies the origin production requirement and other criteria for use of the label.

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