The Explorer: a digital marketplace for green technology from Norway, helping to make the planet a better place for all.
Helene Friis is Director of Strategic Positioning, Innovation Norway, the national investment and innovation agency.
How to brand a country? Is it even possible to market an entire country? How does one do that when there is so much digital noise and positioning is becoming increasingly complex? When people have become more skeptical of government communications because of a post-truth world?
Places – cities, regions and countries – can only earn a reputation by doing something that is relevant for their citizens and for the planet. Branding a country is done by “doing good”, (Simon Anholt). Nobody can differentiate by merely saying, however cleverly, that they are innovative or sustainable.
What places can do however, is make a difference.
How can a country known for its rich oil resources be known for being green and sustainable?
Norway not only wants to be known as a green and sustainable country; Norway wants to be a country that contributes to making the planet better for all. The pioneer project “The Explorer” is Norway’s official marketplace for green technology. In 2018 the government gave Innovation Norway the task to co-operate with the business community and develop a service that helps to export Norway’s green-tech solutions and provide a digital environment for matchmaking between clients and service providers.
In the first year, nearly 600 companies registered their solutions, and about 200 solutions were quality assured and published.
How it works
When applying to submit a solution, Norwegian companies must confirm that they follow good business practices, that their solution is green and that their solution contributes to achieving at least one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Each solution is vetted by The Explorer’s editorial team and a panel of experts. The Explorer is run by Innovation Norway and was developed in dialogue with the Norwegian business community, the Ministry of Climate and Environment, and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. The Explorer has also co-operated closely with UN Global Compact, DNV GL, Sustainia and the Global Opportunity Explorer.
The Explorer presents technology across a range of industries. All solutions help to reduce negative environmental impact and are directly linked to at least one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. On The Explorer one may find the world’s first electric ferry, green data centres, smart city solutions, water purification and much more.
This is contemporary country branding: doing good. Norway’s strategy is to give back to the world and use the opportunity to market itself as a green and sustainable country. A win-win solution.
Helene will talk about how to mobilise co-operation with businesses and use the achieved momentum to market a country.