Photo of a lighthouse on an island.

New Sustainability Reporting Standard for Nordic SMEs

Accelerating the green transition requires measures to steer financing towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns. This means, very soon all Nordic companies must keep a record of climate footprint, measure and report on circularity.

However, today’s standards for sustainability reporting are developed with the large companies in mind and is difficult for smaller companies to adopt. We need a Nordic objective reporting standards that are applicable for SMEs.

With co-funding from Nordic Innovation, the national accounting organizations in Norway (Regnskap Norge), Sweden (Srf konsulterna) and Finland (TAL) have now launched the first edition of the Nordic Sustainability Reporting Standard (NSRS) – a sustainability reporting standard with the smaller companies in mind, but comparable with established international standards.

The standard consists of 11 steps with 64 reporting requirements, and has been piloted with Nordic SMEs.

Go to the NSRS framework

Why is a sustainability standard important for SMEs?

The demand for validated and comparable sustainability reporting will increase in the Nordic area regardless of company size.

The EU is moving towards a sustainable economic system. The Nordic countries will be affected by EU's progressive transition. Large companies are already obligated to report their sustainability work. This will lead to further requirements of their suppliers – the small and medium size companies. Eventually, banks' expectations and legislations regarding sustainability reporting will include all businesses.

Additionally, we need Nordic companies that actively cooperate to create a new framework for sustainable products and develop new solutions that have a net positive climate effect. Those companies that rethink the business model will have a major competitive advantage.

The Nordic Sustainability Report will help Nordic SMEs to stay relevant in public and private tendering processes, classify for green loans, add value for their costumers and stay up to date in a fluctuation regulative landscape.

Who is the Nordic Sustainability Reporting Standard for?

The Nordic Sustainability Reporting Standard is designed with three user groups in mind: SMEs; accountants; and stakeholders seeking non-financial data. Below is a list over possible benefits of using the standard for each user group.


The NSRS is a simple and tangible guide and toolbook for your accountant, so you can get the help you need to stay up to date on your sustainability reporting:

  • Stay relevant in public and private tendering processes
  • Classify for green loans with competitive interest
  • Add value for your consumers
  • Stay up to date in the fluctuating regulative landscape
  • Use the standard as a transition tool for your business


In many cases, the accountant is the closest advisor for SMEs. With NSRS, you as an accountant can:

  • Add a service to your core activities.
  • Gain a competitive advantage in the green economy.
  • Extend your knowledge base in regards of the green transition.
  • Be a change-maker.

Stakeholders seeking non-financial data

For investors, large companies, banks, government, consumers and other stakeholders who are seeking insight into non-financial data in the SME they are involved with.

  • Easier for you to collect non-financial data
  • Comparability between actors
  • Easier to develop targets and goals
  • Be a change-maker

Project background

The Nordic Sustainability Reporting Standard was developed throught the project with the same name and was co-funded by Nordic Innovation through a call for proposals on Circular Cities & New Circular Solutions in our Nordic Sustainable Business Transformation Program. The program, which runs from 2018–2021, aims to challenge Nordic industries to a adapt to a circular future.

Read more about Nordic Sustainable Business Transformation

The Nordic Sustainability Reporting Standard is a concrete tool for small and medium-sized businesses to be a part of the circular transition. Developing the standard on a Nordic level have several benefits.

  • For example, the standard will make cross-border transactions between businesses easier, helping them seize new business opportunity – and governments may use the framework in policy-work and integrate it as a part of public purchases.
  • In sum, the Nordic Sustainability Reporting Standard contributes to the Nordics taking a lead in the sustainability transition, and thereby becoming a pioneer by showcasing what integration between countries can look like.

Visit the NSRS website to learn more


Marthe Haugland - Senior Innovation Adviser

Marthe Haugland

Senior Innovation Adviser
Marthe combines her international experience with her knowledge of business development and innovation to promote Nordic cooperation within the circular economy. She belives Nordic cooperation can drive the systemic change and give Nordic companies a competitive edge going forward.

Twitter   Linkedin

Hanna Törmänen Innovation Adviser

Hanna Törmänen

Senior Innovation Adviser
Hanna has background in Nordic and international exports, public-private cooperation, project management and market analysis. Her focus at Nordic Innovation is to support Nordic businesses and ecosystems in their transition towards sustainable and circular business models.


Lena Henriksson - Head of Communication

Lena Henriksson

Head of Communication
Visionary change maker who believes in a good strategy. Combined communication and marketing expert with working experience from the broadcasting businesses Swedish Radio and UR. Walked from Media to Business and became responsible for marketing, corporate communication and PR in startups and institutes. Interested in making a difference with great communication.

Twitter   Linkedin