Why every Norwegian ecowarrior has 200.000 petrodollars

Climate-friendly startups in Norway are bankrolled by the state oil fund

Several times a year neighbours in Norway get together to sweep leaves, trim bushes, weed flowerbeds and fix up their communal areas. These occasions belong to a tradition called dugnad (communal volunteering). Cilia Holmes Indahl says Norway now needs dugnad on a much bigger scale to turn it into a greener society. Ms Holmes Indahl is the 30-year-old boss of Katapult, a group of companies that invest in technology firms with green aims. Katapult organises an annual three-day “future fest” in Oslo, a mix of tech conference and Burning Man.

Many young Norwegian greens want to wean their country off oil. Technology startups are proliferating in Oslo, helped by generous subsidies from the government. The startups have names like “Douchebags” and “Monster”. They meet in rooms called “Creative Cocoon” or “Bug Fixer”. They sit in open-plan offices in trendily converted factories, surrounded by fruit bowls and bean bags, clad in the obligatory black sweatshirts and beanies. Last year Oslo came third in a ranking of the world’s most talent-competitive cities by insead, a European business school. Engineering graduates used to flock to the lucrative oil sector; these days oil majors have trouble recruiting talent.

Read more: economist