September 14, 2020

Nordic Innovation gives funding to a new Nordic standard

The Nordic Accountant Federation (NAF) has received funding to develop a standard for sustainability reporting for small and medium-sized companies in the Nordic region.

Recently it was announced that the project Nordic Sustainability Reporting Standard for SME’s (NSRS) is awarded funding. The project has been funded under Nordic Innovation's call for proposals: Circular Cities & New Circular Solutions.

"We are very pleased with the diversity of topics, activities and countries in this call. The seven selected projects all show great potential, and we see that they will contribute to strengthening the ecosystems within the circular economy in the Nordics, as well as new circular processes”, said Hanna Törmänen, Innovation Advisor at Nordic Innovation, in connection with the announcement.

17 projects applied for funding from Nordic Innovation. NSRS is one of seven projects that share a total of NOK 14,426,883.

“The Nordic accounting industry has always supported the SME-market. The three accounting organizations in Norway (Accounting Norway), Sweden (Srf konsulterna) and Finland (TAL) in NAF, will create a standard that makes it easy for the smaller companies to deliver on sustainability. The support from Nordic Innovation enables this comprehensive process we are now diving into,” says Christine Lundberg Larsen, CEO of Accounting Norway.

The accountant will include the SMEs in the green transition

Today, the accounting industry collects, registers and structures financial data. NAF sees an enormous potential in expanding this service to include non-financial information such as environmental impact and social conditions.

NSRS will be a standard that assists the accountant with climate accounting and sustainability reporting for small and medium-sized enterprises. The SME-market is the backbone of the Nordic economy. The goal is to accelerate the green transition in the region by helping accountants advise their customers – the SME’s.

Nordic value

Today's standards for sustainability reporting have been developed with the large companies in mind and are difficult to transfer to smaller companies. NSRS considers the needs and situation of small and medium-sized enterprises. The standard will at the same time be comparable with international and recognized standards such as TCFD, GRI and ESG.

The transition from a linear to a circular economy will be an important element in the standard. Accounting Norway, TAL and Srf Konsulterna have already developed a common framework for accounting and payroll in the three countries.

Sustainability information will soon be a requirement

Many large Nordic companies have set bold climate targets the recent years. IKEA, Flokk, Asko, NorgesGruppen and Bergans aim to be climate neutral within 5-10 years. This has a major impact on all the small suppliers - the accountant's customers - who will have to deal with the climate goals of large players. This means that all Nordic companies will soon have to document and report on climate footprints. The need for a Nordic reporting standard for small and medium-sized enterprises has never been greater.

The NSRS-project has already started. Participatory methodologies, system innovation, design thinking and service design will ensure interdisciplinarity and relevant end-user understanding. In addition, the project strives to gather as many relevant actors as possible for this Nordic collaborative effort. The standard is scheduled to be launched in February 2021.

“The Nordic region is small in the global context. This makes it feasible to test run a standard in our region before improving and scaling it. The Nordic region has the potential to pave the way for a European and global transition in the longer term", says Kaja Koppang, project manager and sustainability expert for NSRS.

If you have any questions about the project or want to register your interest, please contact Kaja Koppang at

Continue reading