Sustainability is cemented into the very foundations of Norway’s culture. As a country, they have nailed the balance between a high standard of living and bringing environmental impact down to a globally impressive level. The country’s use of renewable energy and sustainable transport, and their emphasis on recycling are just some of the ways that have seen sustainability in Norway become a hallmark for how other countries should aim to act where possible.

Sustainable Transport

Green methods of transport play a big role in making Norway such a sustainable country. Oslo is set to become the first capital city in the world with a zero-emission public transport system – this will be achieved by replacing the diesel-powered buses with 450 electric ones. This change will not only cut emissions but also reduce noise and improve the air quality. Throughout the country, hundreds of trains, ferries, cars and bikes are powered by electricity, helping to sustain the silent soundscape in Norway’s natural landscapes. With trains and ferries connecting the capital city to other main cities in Europe such as Stockholm and Copenhagen, plane travel can be easily avoided and emissions reduced.


Recycling is a key part of sustainability in Norway. The country boasts an impressive 92% recycling rate on plastic bottles due to a scheme that is led with a financial incentive. Customers don’t buy a plastic bottle, they ‘borrow’ it, with a small fee charged upon purchase that can be reclaimed by depositing the bottle into a machine. The initiative has been so successful that Norway is looking at also incorporating glass bottles and other plastic packaging into the scheme.

Renewable Energy

Blessed with an abundance of rainfall and bodies of water, Norway utilises dams and waterfalls to generate hydroelectricity. However, the country is also aware of the potential disruption that dams have on the natural environment – such as blocking breeding cycles for animals that travel upstream – so also opt for wind and thermal energy to power the country. An extraordinary 98% of electricity comes from these renewable energy sources, and the country has even swapped coal and oil for bioenergy in the winter months, enabling people to warm their homes in an eco-friendly way.

The Seed Vault

Perhaps the most unusual form of ensuring future sustainability in Norway is the Seed Vault. Burrowed deep into an icy mountain on Svalbard is a vault (aptly dubbed the ‘doomsday vault’), that contains over a million seeds from across the planet. It’s the world’s largest collection of agriculture biodiversity and is intended for use in the case of a global crisis – anything from climate change to a geopolitical disaster that would require regeneration of food crops. This unique project is a testament to Norway’s understanding of how sustainability can benefit the whole planet.

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