Supporter of the local community
Sparebanken Møre has been deeply involved in building attractive and sustainable local communities for many years. In addition to the bank’s sponsorship agreements with more than hundreds teams and organisations in the region, Sparebanken Møre provides support for projects in the region, large and small, through its distribution of dividend funds for local communities.
The dividend funds for local communities are made possible by the bank’s ownership structure. Sparebanken Møre has two groups of owners, equity certificate holders and local communities, and the bank’s dividend policy stipulates that the groups should be treated equally. Since the local communities in Møre og Romsdal own about 50 per cent of Sparebanken Møre, half of the bank’s profits are returned to the region through dividend funds for local communities for good causes. As a result, the bank is a significant contributor to good initiatives within culture, sports, the local environment, infrastructure, skills and business development in Nordvestlandet. The bank has chosen to divide the dividend funds for local communities into the following concepts: TEFT funds, TEFT grants and NÆRINGSTEFT.
Measures implemented in 2020
Sparebanken Møre is a major sponsor in Nordvestlandet and has agreements with around 120 teams and organisations, large and small, within sports and culture in our market area. All new sponsorship agreements signed in 2019 and 2020 included a section devoted to sustainability in which we emphasise sustainable financial management, measures for diversity and equality, and cutting greenhouse gas and environmentally harmful emissions in our follow-up. The football clubs Aalesunds FK and Molde FK, which we extended new general partnership agreements with in 2020, have corresponding obligations. This is about cooperation on sustainability projects with other partners and the clubs’ local communities. A result of the bank’s focus over several years.
Clubs and organisations in Møre og Romsdal can apply for TEFT funds for good causes. NOK 141 million was allocated to dividend funds for local communities for the 2020 accounting year and the bank received a total of 1,622 applications, of which 1,144 were granted (70 per cent). Around 10 per cent of these went straight to Covid-19 related projects. Even though the number of in-person events was substantially smaller in 2020 due to Covid-19, the number of applications was about the same as before. We have seen many organisers adopt digital solutions to reach out to their target groups. This makes the bank an important supporter of the development of sustainable local communities. In addition to this, many of the projects involve initiatives related to good health and quality of life, equal opportunities, good education, less inequality and exclusion.
The applications cover a wide range of goals and include support for local outdoor measures such as building and improving hiking trails, constructing temporary forest shelters for hikers made of natural materials and other measures aimed at improving hiking destinations in the region. Sports clubs apply for support for maintaining facilities or constructing new ones and buying equipment, as well as support for hosting events. Cultural organisations generally apply for support to put on events and to purchase instruments, costumes and so on. The bank has previously supported organisations involved in various forms of relief work in the county, and in 2020 we formalised several such larger partnerships with the Church City Mission, the Norwegian Red Cross Search and Rescue Corps, and the Church’s SOS. We did so to help those who have been left behind and to support those who focus on physical health and exclusion.
Examples of sustainability projects that Sparebanken Møre has supported in the past year:
Scoring municipalities’ sustainability performance with the U4SSC programme
During the summer and autumn of 2020, every municipality in Møre og Romsdal was scored on a number of sustainability indicators in line with the EU programme United for Smart and Sustainable Cities (U4SSC). It is the first county in Norway in which every municipality has been surveyed in this way and this helps to form a good picture of the sustainability challenges and opportunities in the region.
In pursuit of the sustainability method
The ‘Jakta på bærekraftsmetoden’ [In pursuit of the sustainability method] project is an extension of the collaboration with the UN United Future Lab and KPI measurements of municipalities in Møre og Romsdal. Sparebanken Møre has contributed both funds and professional resources to this project. This is a pilot project being carried out in Møre og Romsdal with the goal of increasing the interaction between the public sector, academia and the business sector in order to accelerate sustainable development. The project has particularly focused on the circular economy, equalising disparities and waste.
Sparebanken Møre is a partner of United Future Lab Norway
The lab has been established in Ålesund and is the second future lab for developing sustainable cities and local communities in line with the UN’s United for Smart and Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) programme. The first lab was established in Vienna. United Future Lab Norway has partners in a number of different industries and from different parts of Norway. The goal is for the lab to function as an ecosystem for green restructuring. Sparebanken Møre is on the cooperation board with the other partners and has also been selected together with six others to make up the Future Board.
Self-initiated project – ‘Plastkonto’
Sparebanken Møre supports all forms of marine waste clean-up carried out by private individuals in clubs and associations. The ‘Plastkonto’ concept we established in late autumn 2020 is a special scheme for cleaning up tidal areas. Everyone who filled a container with marine waste received NOK 16,000 as a contribution to the voluntary organisation that organised the various clean-up projects. A total of 5,500 kg of marine waste was collected through the Plastkonto project in 2020.
Clean up of marine waste
Roer Martin Helseth has trained young people in freediving for the purpose of cleaning up marine waste, with support from the Bank. We also continued our collaboration with the Summer Festival on Giske, which focuses on collecting ocean plastics and was started in 2019. The project involved buying festival passes with handed in ocean plastics and fulfils both the climate goals and the goal of reducing exclusion. The project gained a lot of international coverage in 2019 and inspired many others to do the same thing. In 2020, this amounted to 2,200 kg of marine waste.
NOK 15 million for a PET scanner
In April 2020, Sparebanken Møre donated NOK 15 million for the purchase of a PET scanner at Ålesund Hospital. The association "Sjukhuset Vårt" started a fundraising campaign in 2019 with the goal of raising NOK 30 million for the purpose. The target was achieved towards the end of 2020, and a total of NOK 36 million was raised from local businesses and private individuals. Sparebanken Møre’s donation was a big step in realising the goal.
250 tablets computers for hospitals and 24-hour care sheltered homes
Bans on visiting nursing and care homes were introduced early on in the Covid-19 pandemic. Many seniors lost the opportunity to spend in-person time with their families for a long time. Sparebanken Møre bought 250 tablets that were distributed to nursing and care homes to strengthen family contact. This was done in cooperation with the Development Centre for Home Services and Nursing Homes in Møre og Romsdal (USHT) and the Arena for Learning about Welfare Technology (ALV), which will also carry out research into how important tablet use is for family contact.
Møre og Romsdal Red Cross
In spring 2020, Sparebanken Møre contacted Møre og Romsdal Red Cross with a wish, because of Covid-19, to support in particular the work the Red Cross Search and Rescue Corps were doing in the region. As a result of this, 13 defibrillators, four whiteboard charts for rescue missions, etc. and four tablet computers were purchased for use in their daily work.
A boost for women’s football in the county
Through dialogue and cooperation with Sunnmøre Fotballkrets, Nordmøre and Romsdal Fotballkrets, Molde FK and AaFK Fortuna, Sparebanken Møre has been an important conversation partner and premise setter for women’s football in the county. We donated NOK 8 million to this effort for the period 2019-2021 and measures have been implemented in districts, grassroots clubs and elite clubs. The initiative is intended to equalise disparities and fulfil both SDG 5 regarding gender equality and SDG 10 regarding reduced inequalities.
Collaboration with academia and research
TEFT-lab is a research project with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Ålesund and a hub for research and development within service innovation, entrepreneurship, finances and technology. In this we are researching the opportunities the technological shift is presenting and taking an active part in education, research, innovation and dissemination in the intersection between economics and technology. TEFT-lab has brought together seven PhD candidates, one of which is a business candidate from Sparebanken Møre. In addition, 15 researchers from NTNU are linked to the research environment in TEFT-lab.
Support for research projects at NTNU
In 2020, Sparebanken Møre supported two research projects at NTNU Ålesund related to climate change in oceans. The first project uses big data and machine learning to model plastic in the ocean in Møre og Romsdal, while the other project ‘Microfish’ has three goals. Research into pollutants and microplastics in fish is one, while opening up the university to children and young people and disseminating knowledge to them about active participation in a real research project is the second. In addition to this, it will research what raw data children and young people can collect for analyses of pollutants and microplastics in fish.
Teaching personal finances and entrepreneurship
As Young Entrepreneurship Møre og Romsdal’s main partner, we are helping to improve the personal finances skills of pupils in both primary and secondary schools. Every school year, nearly 3,000 pupils receive training through the ‘Economy and Career Choices’ and ‘Boss of Your Life’ programmes. Around 50 authorised financial advisers contribute to the teaching in schools. As a result of Covid-19, most of the courses planned for 2020 were postponed until 2021. Sparebanken Møre also participates as a supervisor and jury in the entrepreneurship programmes of Young Entrepreneurship.
Greater interest in science
Through supporting the establishment of the Newton Room and several creator workshops, as well as the First Lego League – the world’s largest technology tournament for children, we also want to contribute to the joy of learning and scientific expertise. We also regularly visit schools to give talks on both economics and macroeconomics.
NÆRINGSTEFTis a skills journey and competition for entrepreneurs aimed at contributing to a greater diversity of entrepreneurs and growth companies in the region. Some 64 teams of entrepreneurs took part in 2020. Otherwise, see the supplementary information about NÆRINGSTEFT in the section on ‘Contribution to business development’.
Talented young people are good role models for the people around them and through TEFT grants we give young people an opportunity to pursue their talent within the categories of sports, culture and an open class. In 2020, the grants were for NOK 50,000 and 15 young people were awarded a total of NOK 750,000. In our experience, the scholarships are very important for the recipients’ development, and we maintain a close dialogue with, among others, the districts in the county in the jury work. The recipients themselves express delight in being seen and say that this motivates them to do work beyond the scholarship. Since its inception in 2007, more than 350 talented locals have received TEFT grants. Previous recipients include Sigrid Raabe, Karsten Warholm and Sebastian Foss Solevåg.
Sparebanken Møre plans to continue a number of the measures mentioned above, and also constantly reviews new measures directly related to priority sustainability goals. We also give weight to projects in which multiple stakeholders are working together to achieve the goals.
Because of the cancelled classes in schools in 2020, a digital version will be established that can be implemented in 2021. This will ensure that we can make sure that the pupils will not miss out on valuable skills.
The Communications and Group Support Unit is responsible for strategy, follow-up and reporting.
Measurement and evaluation
Sustainability is a topic in meetings with the bank’s sponsorship recipients. These are conducted at least once a year.
Reports on dividend funds for local communities are submitted to the Board twice a year. All of the projects awarded funds are subject to evaluation, both underway and prior to any extension of support. A close dialogue is maintained with the larger projects and Sparebanken Møre also participates itself in several of the projects.
Key governing documents
- Møre 2024 (Group strategy)
- Guidelines for the use of dividend funds for local communities
- Code of Conduct and CSR Policy
- Procedures for sponsorship work