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1: Net Zero Denmark – responding to the climate crisis

Climate targets / Industry-led climate partnerships (CP) / Who chairs the CPs / Companies are pacesetters / International trade

Denmark is one of a handful of countries to be name checked in the World Economic Forum report The Net Zero Challenge, released last December, as being among the best performers when it comes to achieving carbon neutrality.

It receives the accolade for having strong ambitions that are translated into targets and supported by an effective policy framework. The country adopted a new climate law, also in December, committing to reach a 70% reduction in carbon emissions (below the 1990 benchmark) by 2030, just 10 years away.

The law targets carbon neutrality by 2050 and includes a robust monitoring system; new legally binding targets will be set every five years, with a 10-year perspective. The first of these is scheduled to be set out this year.

Net Zero Denmark
Ole Hvelplund, MD of Nature Energy.

To help it meet these commitments Denmark has established 13 sector-led Climate Partnerships (CP). Facilitated by the government, these are industry led forums. Ole Hvelplund, MD of Nature Energy and Bruno Sander Nielsen, President of the Danish Biogas Association, sit on the environment, energy and agriculture boards.

Simultaneously, the “Green Business Forum” was established. This forum comprises government ministers, the 13 CP chairmen, representatives of the trade unions, business organisations and the Danish Council on Climate Change, and will track the implementation of the roadmaps and proposals from the CPs.

The chairmen of the government’s 13 climate partnerships

  • Land transport and logistics: Jens Bjørn Andersen, CEO, DSV Panalpina
  • Service, IT and consultancy: Eva Berneke, CEO, KMD
  • Aviation: Simon Pauck Hansen, CEO, SAS Danmark
  • Waste, water and circular economy: Camilla Haustrup Hermansen, CEO and co-owner, Plus Pack
  • Building and construction: Jesper Kristian Jacobsen, CEO, Aarsleff
  • Life Science og biotech: Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, CEO, Novo Nordisk
  • Retail: Michael Løve, Group CEO, Netto International
  • Production: Mads Nipper, CEO, Grundfos
  • Finance: Torben Möger Pedersen, CEO, PensionDanmark
  • Energy and utilities: Henrik Poulsen, CEO, Ørsted
  • Shipping: Søren Skou, CEO, Mærsk
  • Energy heavy industry: Michael Lundgaard Thomsen, Managing Director, Aalborg Portland
  • Food production and agriculture: Jais Valeur, Group CEO, Danish Crown

Companies are pacesetters

In a press release announcing the creation of the CPs, the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said, “The Danish business community has a central role in the green transition and with the climate partnerships, the government wants to work closely with the business community on how to contribute to solving the climate challenges.”

She continued, “We are seeing that the Danish business community is deeply involved in the climate case. To be honest, many companies are a step ahead of us politicians. While we have been busy setting high climate targets for Denmark – a 70% reduction in emissions by 2030 – the green transition is already in full swing at the workplaces.

ØrstedVestasGrundfosDanfossVelux and many more Danish companies sell sustainable solutions worldwide. There is a straight line from the work that Danish employees are part of in Denmark’s green production workplaces and to the huge respect that Denmark enjoys internationally.

“Danish companies and employees deserve a government that is as ambitious as they are themselves. We must invest in green technology and show that partnerships are the solution – both on the climate challenges and on the protection of the nature in which each generation only guests.”

In what the government claims is a first for a national legislature, the new law also has a commitment to climate engagement internationally. This includes an ongoing obligation to deliver on international agreements, including climate finance to developing countries.

The government will need to provide an annual global report on the international effects of Danish climate action, as well as the effects of Danish imports and consumption. It will also need to provide a strategy for how its foreign, development and trade policy is driving international climate action.

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