The initiatives will make it easier for Nordic companies to operate across borders and support the vision for the Nordic Region to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. The package put forward by the ministers for trade and industry consists of a total of eight key initiatives for the period 2021 to 2024 worth a total of DKK 250 million. The ministers approved the initiatives at a digital meeting on 1 September.
“The eight initiatives we have agreed on today exemplify how climate measures, the green digital shift, and economic recovery after the coronavirus crisis go hand in hand. These initiatives in areas such as circular and sustainable business models, green transport, and digitalisation strengthen the Nordic Region’s position at the forefront of green innovation and entrepreneurship, and thus contribute to future sustainable growth and new jobs,” says Simon Kollerup, Denmark’s Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, who is chairing the Nordic ministers for trade and industry in 2020.
A green and competitive Nordic Region
The transport sector is one of the areas where the ministers for trade and industry see huge potential for increased co-operation. Among other things, the ministers want to draw up a green Nordic maritime transport strategy. The objective of this is to enable Nordic trucks and ships to increasingly be run using green fuels.
The ministers’ package also includes investments in digital solutions in the transport sector. These will increase opportunities for exchanging data in the sector, which will in turn help make more efficient use of trucks’ and ships’ cargo space.
The ministers for trade and industry would also like to see new investments in life science and health technology. Although Nordic companies in these sectors are world leaders, there is still room for improvement. An important step is to enable various actors to securely share and access health data across the region’s borders.
The ministers also want to strengthen the Nordic Region’s position in the circular and green shift, with an initiative for circular business models, data, and digitalisation.
The construction sector is another investment area. The aim is to make construction materials as reusable as possible and to make housing more climate-friendly. In addition, investments are being made in more sustainable mining operations and metal production.
“The initiatives by the ministers for trade and industry represent a determined advance towards a stronger and more sustainable Nordic Region. They are important steps in our quest to make business and industry green, circular, and carbon-neutral in line with our vision. This is positive for both the climate and our economies,” says Paula Lehtomäki, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Easier for companies to operate across the Nordic Region
The ministers’ package includes a continued investment in Nordic Smart Government (NSG), which is one of the most important Nordic co-operation programmes in the business sector in the coming years. At the meeting, a strategic roadmap for the programme was approved and launched.
The aim of NSG is to make companies’ economic data securely accessible and usable for the purposes of innovation and growth. This will create a more transparent and integrated region in which it is easier for Nordic companies to trade with each other, file reports with public authorities, and develop new digital solutions with the help of better and more accessible data.
“Nordic Smart Government gives us real-time data on companies. This gives those companies a better overview of their financial situation and makes it quicker and easier for companies to, for example, obtain a credit check from a bank for a loan. Real-time data makes it easier for companies to do business in a timely manner and also creates increased liquidity in the market, which benefits business and general welfare greatly,” says Kollerup.
Nordic Smart Government will soon enter the next phase, in which the public and private sectors will work together to implement concrete initiatives. A first step is to expand the use of electronic invoicing across the Nordic Region so that an invoice from Sweden can be easily recorded in Denmark.
The eight initiatives that have just been approved will primarily be taken care of by Nordic Innovation, which is an institution under the Nordic Council of Ministers.