Simonsen Vogt Wiig is a leading Norwegian law-firm assisting clients within all key industries and all legal practices. The company set up its Singapore office in 2007, to provide services within shipping and offshore. Today, the Singapore office has expanded its services. However, the main focus remains maritime. We spoke to Torgeir Willumsen, Resident Partner at Simonsen Vogt Wiig, Singapore, about compliance, risk and sustainability and the impact it has on companies’ setup and reporting requirements.
Norway ranks no. 7 UN’s SDG Index
Norway ranks number 7 on UN’s SDG index. This index measures a country’s total progress towards achieving all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. One of the goals we rank well on is “Peace, justice and strong institutions”. Norway has a growing focus on legislation as a mean to fulfil the SDGs. Both Norway and EU see an increased need for more accurate reporting when it comes to climate-related issues such as climate risk and carbon neutrality. Consequently, there is a tightening of reporting requirement coming from many of the EU countries, and Norway too.
Norway is moving from soft law to hard law
Earlier, the requirements were voluntary. Today, we see a shift towards formal reporting of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Compliance data. This summer, Norway announced three legislation changes with regards to ESG:
1. Sustainable Finance Act
The Sustainable Finance Act will imply implementation of Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 on Sustainable Finance Disclosure (SFDR) and the EU Taxonomy. Implementation in Norwegian law will take place once incorporated into the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement. This is expected to happen in short time.
2. Added factors to the Accounting Act
Two factors, namely Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination, have been added to the already existing ESG factors in the Accounting Act: Human Rights, Social Conditions, External Environment and Combatting of Corruption.
3. Transparency Act
The new Transparency Act regulates enterprise transparency and work regarding basic human rights and decent working conditions.
In this article, the experts from Simonsen Vogt Wiig explain well the changes and implications this will have for companies. In short, reporting requirements for companies are being legally formalised and strengthened. As a result, businesses operating in Norway have to prepare for more comprehensive and detailed reporting, both on sustainability and climate risk, as well as social and governance issues.
“ESG is a rapidly developing field driven by consumers, investors and, now, legislators. The momentum is steadily building and companies have to take care not be caught unaware.”, says Torgeir.
Simonsen Vogt Wiig is Bronze Sponsor at SNIC2021
SNIC 2021 is a hybrid event online and at Suntec Singapore. NBAS, The Norwegian Embassy in Singapore and Innovation Norway are event organisers. This year, we are looking at business opportunities in the green transition. Simonsen Vogt Wiig is a bronze sponsor for the event. Sign up to SNIC 2021 here.