Part of what we do as a company is to actively participate in Skift – Business Climate Leaders, we create our own climate accounts, are members of the UN Global Compact, have been Eco-Lighthouse certified since 2013 and are climate neutral (through the EU ETS). In 2022, we will move into BREEAM-Nor Excellent certified premises in Oslo – one of the market's highest climate certifications for buildings.
Taxonomy and adjacent regulations
EU taxonomy is a classification system for sustainable economic development and forms the very foundation of the EU's new regulations on sustainable finance. The taxonomy sets a number of requirements that are of relevance to Norwegian business and industry. These requirements are expected to be implemented in a new Norwegian act on sustainability information.
We are committed to ensuring that our customers are confident in the implementation of the new regulations and feel sure that the minimum standard of the taxonomy is met.
The construction industry is crucial to our society achieving a sustainable development. Construction is often referred to as the 40 percent industry because it consumes 40 percent of the energy, 40 percent of material resources and accounts for 40 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.
At Arntzen de Besche, we are proud to cooperate with the Norwegian Green Building Council to achieve better implementation, follow-up and execution of the BREEAM-NOR environmental certification system in construction projects. BREEAM is the most recognized environmental certification scheme for buildings, both in Norway and internationally.
The goal is to make sure that more market operators in the construction and real estate industry achieve a high level of environmental quality in their projects.
The EU taxonomy defines, among other things, which real estate investments can be classified as green buildings. BREEAM-NOR has until now been the most widely used certification scheme for new buildings and rehabilitation projects in Norway, where enterprises have been assessed according to the degree to which they have complied with the certification. With the EU taxonomy, absolute requirements will be more common.
At Arntzen de Besche, we follow closely the EU's work on developing criteria for buildings and implementation with regard to Norwegian standards and regulations for certification, energy labelling and technical requirements. We assist our customers in ensuring that reporting requirements
Finance is expected to be a key sector in the work to meet the sustainability targets, and national, regional and international targets for 2030 and 2050. At Arntzen de Besche, this is a high priority, which is why we put much of our resources into improving our understanding of current soft law, and future regulatory requirements that will advance a low-emission society and the sustainability targets.
As the internationalisation of working life increases, a growing number of regulatory requirements also set guidelines for how the business sector should behave. Activities abroad offer a far more complex risk profile than what a Norwegian market operator relates to at home.
Staying within the regulations can be demanding, and it often requires a systematic approach. Companies are increasingly expected to actively work to ensure compliance with the regulations, particularly when it comes to corruption and money laundering. At Arntzen de Besche, we follow developments closely and advise customers so that they have routines that meet compliance requirements at all times. In addition, we assist customers when a breach of regulations is uncovered or suspected.
Good and thorough reporting of sustainability and corporate social responsibility is important. Investors and customers increasingly emphasize companies' impact on society and the environment, and good reporting is therefore essential to a company’s competitive ability. Recently, there has been an extensive development in judicialisation of reporting in this area, both when it comes to regulations initiated by the EU and rules adopted on a national level. Among other things, our lawyers already have a lot of expertise on the new rules that apply to Norwegian companies' reporting obligations on supply chains and partners (the Transparency Act) and in general about the requirements in the Accounting Act on sustainability reporting.
Many companies use the reporting rules as an active part of their marketing to customers. This new trend has caught the attention of governments, investors, the media, partners and consumers. Reporting will therefore be relevant to the Marketing Control Act and other adjacent regulations. We help customers avoiding "greenwashing" and ensure that the reporting is otherwise correct and not misleading.
We know that the public sector today buys goods, services and construction work worth more than NOK 500 billion annually, and with such purchasing power it can stimulate significant growth as the business sector’s largest market. The business sector itself has a great potential to demonstrate good purchasing sense and push the supplier market in a more sustainable direction.
Arntzen de Besche advises both suppliers and the public sector on this sustainability interaction. We assist in all phases of procurement, from planning to implementation and follow-up of contract. Sustainability, the environment and social considerations are, in our view, equally important in all phases of procurement.
Sustainable procurement is a broad term, but at its core is procurements made in accordance with the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Our lawyers advise both the business sector and the public sector on what this specifically entails for individual procurements. Life cycle perspectives, circular economy and holistic thinking are important keywords in this work.
Through strategic cooperation with the business sector, such as the Skift network and the Norwegian Green Building Council, we help set the sustainability agenda in essential industries. Among other things, Arntzen de Besche leads Skift – Business Climate Leaders' work on a pilot for sustainable procurements. The first step of the pilot was to create purchasing rules for sustainable procurements – www.gronneinnkjop.no. We support these principles because we believe that sustainable procurement is an effective and suitable tool for supporting a more sustainable business sector.
The energy sector and a transition to renewable energy are at the heart of the "green shift". As much as 98% of the electricity generated in Norway is renewable, and the share of total energy consumption that is renewable is high compared to other countries. Society will nevertheless be even more electrified in the future, and the need for more renewable electricity generation and associated infrastructure is crucial. New energy carriers, especially hydrogen and ammonia, are expected to play a central role in the future, and the interaction and convergence with the electric power system will be important.
Arntzen de Besche has leading expertise in all parts of the renewables sector and assists in every step of the process; production, transmission/grid operation and sale. We assist in transactions and disputes and advise on regulatory and contractual issues. Our leading expertise in market design and infrastructure also makes us highly qualified to advise on more general strategic issues now that the green shift is in full swing.
Climate and environmental law
Growing political concern, both nationally and internationally, means that more and more businesses are affected by new regulations and new issues relating to climate and the environment. Several of these legislative initiatives originate with the EU, which means that more Norwegian businesses will need sector-specific expertise and expertise on EU/EEA legislation.
Emission reductions are crucial to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and "climate law" has emerged as a separate legal discipline. The EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) is a linchpin in this process, and works in conjunction with carbon taxes and other legislation aimed at reducing emissions.
Arntzen de Besche assists market operators within and without the ETS sector with compliance with all climate law requirements. We have in-depth expertise relating to the EMS and its regulations and also assist financial operators in the trading market.
The more "traditional" environmental and pollution legislation is also central in a sustainability perspective. Arntzen de Besche has in-depth expertise and experience relating to, among other things, pollution liability and issues relating to waste management/recycling. Environmental considerations are increasingly regulated in business contracts, which is why we have assisted many clients with both the design, interpretation and enforcement of environmental clauses. Contact with the authorities is also often central to such cases, and we assist with applications/permits, compliance and reporting. We have also worked on such environmental issues as the closure of refineries and oil facilities, emissions and pollution, and requirements for clearing during various installations.
Contact one of our employees for a conversation about sustainability.