Dagens Næringsliv generates commercial profit with focus on ocean conservation

By Siri Skaalmo

Dagens Næringsliv

Oslo, Norway


From the inside of a media house, we are in a unique position to observe trends and movements in a society where people can have an impact or make a difference. 

Most often, this happens from the editorial side — we research, investigate, reveal, and inform. But with our recent project, “The Ocean,” we at Dagens Næringsliv (Norwegian Business Daily) learned that a media company also can make a difference from the business side. We can raise important discussions and play a vital role in enabling positive societal change in new ways. 

Can commercial, profitable initiatives do good? We say yes! 

Dagens Næringsliv Editor-in-Chief Amund Djuve at The Ocean conference at the Oslo Opera House.
Dagens Næringsliv Editor-in-Chief Amund Djuve at The Ocean conference at the Oslo Opera House.

How? By bringing knowledge and people together.  

Let’s rewind a few years and look at the origin of our campaign.

In 2017, we saw the ocean was about to become one of the most interesting and crucial topics for many businesses — from a growth perspective, from a transformation perspective, in technology, and in light of sustainability. 

For a business newspaper like ours, this was particularly interesting — especially since 70% of Norwegian export income is from ocean industries and 80% of the population lives by the coastline.

We carved out a plan that meant using the core strengths of a media house:

  • The combination of communication skills (research and storytelling).
  • The ability to gather important people (conferences and roundtables).
  • Our newspaper distribution platforms.

With all of this, we would let The Ocean project address the massive opportunities and challenges for our oceans through a combination of native content, conferences, and distribution.   

Businesses sharing the same objectives and goals in The Ocean space were invited to be part of the project. We needed them along for two reasons: funding and great stories.

But first we warned them that we had never done this before. We would have to be lean and navigate quickly. Fortunately, they were willing to join us on the unsteady surfboard of media innovation.

With partners on board, we gathered developers, designers, content producers, social media experts, and a visual team. They developed a communication platform with its own visual identity. On this platform, the partners tell their stories with help from the native team at the newspaper. We distributed the content and messages widely. We even built a nerdy Ocean Facebook group.  

And we let the C-level players in the ocean economy meet at a big conference in the Oslo Opera House and in deep discussions at small exclusive roundtable debates moderated by a partner at McKinsey.

In essence, we rolled out the superpowers of a media house. The goal was to facilitate a new debate on sustainable oceans from a business perspective and a Norwegian perspective. 

Patrons in The Ocean project have included the bank DnB with its brand new ocean division, tech-company Kongsberg, the Norwegian Seafood Council, and the governmental agency Innovasjon Norge. The joint effort from several companies made the message even stronger with the statement that we must work together on big challenges like this.  

The Ocean is a project running side-by-side with the ongoing effort to make Norway the world’s top ocean economy through sustainable development. For our patrons, it is important to position themselves at the forefront of this development and take a clear point of view on strategies and sustainability.

We created a platform that is mutually valuable for businesses in several ocean-related sectors and a media house. Our vision is to share and spread knowledge and unique experience from many years of business development tied to the ocean: maritime shipping, offshore oil and gas, renewable energy, and seafood, among others. Pair that with new thoughts, initiatives, and possibilities within tech, finance, cooperation, and sustainability.

The innovation project is constantly evaluated and challenged. What we see, above all small adjustments and improvements, is that a newspaper has a position and skill set that give opportunities to set larger topics on the agenda — from a commercial perspective.

About Siri Skaalmo

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