Our vision is to ensure plastics circularity and a pollution free environment.
The Norwegian Retailers' Environment Fund receives NOK 1 for every plastic bag member retailers sell in Norway. All Norwegian retailers and wholesalers who buy or sell plastic bags can become a member and contribute to the Fund's work in tackling environmental issues due to plastics.
The funds received from member retailers are earmarked for environmental measures that fulfills at least one of the Fund’s purposes:
Measures that strengthen work on marine and land-based plastic pollution
Measures that contribute to increase recycling and reuse of plastics
Measures that reduce the consumption of plastics and plastic carrier bags
The Norwegian Retailers' Environment Fund was founded in November 2017, and the association was established instead of a government imposed tax, to help ensure compliance with the requirements and intentions of the EU Directive 2015/720 on lightweight plastic carrier bags. The directive states that countries should either introduce a national reduction target for lightweight plastic carrier bags, or ensure that these bags are not provided free of charge at the point of sale of goods or products. Norway opted for the latter. Norwegian retailers and the Ministry of Climate and Environment came to an understanding, where retailers themselves are responsible for not providing lightweight plastic carrier bags free of charge. Virke, The Federation of Norwegian Enterprise, The Norwegian Federation of Service Industries and Retail Trade and DMF, established the Norwegian Retailers' Environment Fund to ensure that the funds collected are earmarked to reduce the environmental issues due to plastics.
Now the association is a greater tool than merely Norway's way of implementing the EU directive. The Norwegian Retailers' Environment Fund receives several million Norwegian kroner per year, and is not bound by bureaucracy or public rules and regulations. Therefore, we are able to turn around quickly in urgent matters, and to take risks in order to achieve desired environmental results. In this way our funds provide a double impact, and enable us to fulfill our vision of making a significant and lasting difference to the environment.
Ministry of Climate and Environment statement about the Norwegian Retailers' Environment Fund
In a letter, 9th of December 2019, to the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) on Norway's compliance with the EU Plastic Bags Directive, the Ministry of Climate and Environment describes the Norwegian Retailers' Environment Fund as follows:
"In 2017, the largest actors in the Norwegian grocery, retail and trade sectors agreed to meet the national obligations in the directive through the establishment of the Norwegian Retailers' Environment Fund (Handelens Miljøfond) owned and operated by the relevant private actors. Members of the fund are required to place a fee on all plastic carrier bags they sell. The fund finances both national and international initiatives aimed at reducing and preventing plastic pollution e.g. through clean-up projects and support for technology and innovation. The fund's stated goals are threefold: 1) Prevent and clean up plastic pollution, not least in relation to marine littering 2) Reduce the use of plastic carrier bags 3) Increase resource efficiency by supporting measures to increase plastic recycling. By 2018, the majority of actors in the grocery, retail and trade sectors were already part of the fund, and 80-90pct. of all plastic carrier bags sold in Non/vay were subject to this fee through the fund. It is therefore the Norwegian Government's View that this financial mechanism senves as a sufficiently effective measure to meet the national obligations in the directive."