By Michael Rothenborg
The Danish companies' advantage in the global export market is at the same time their disadvantage: We offer solutions that are sustainable and effective, which is the result of many years of development efforts. Now, other countries may question whether it is not too expensive or difficult to transfer these solutions. Therefore, it is crucial to communicate that the techniques and the other elements are not tailored to Denmark, but that they are universal and can be adapted to local conditions.
That was the main point of Ramboll’s CEO Jens-Peter Saul at the Copenhagen conference ‘Urbanization & Exports’, arranged by Realdania and The Danish Foreign Policy Society.
“We have a high credibility in this area, and people are aware that we offer holistic solutions with added benefits, not least improved liveability. However, the concept of liveability is unique to each city. No approach fits all, so we always need to take account of the local context, when we built solutions”, Jens-Peter Saul said – and mentioned Ramboll’s master planning for the city of Jeddah as an example.
Jens-Peter Saul points out that it is Ramboll’s and other Danish companies' task to communicate that sustainable energy systems, climate protection and urban development can be built up gradually, that we have the global vision and local knowledge, and that our techniques are so universal that they can be adapted and used globally.
Collaborate with big cities
The world known architect Bjarke Ingels, who was also speaking at the conference, agreed that the Danish label is not necessary an export-driver.
"People often know that sustainability the Danish way does not have to be a compromise; it can actually improve liveability. But we have never branded ourselves as Danish”, Bjarke Ingels said.
Executive director of the megacities climate change-network C-40 Kevin Austin pointed out that although some elements vary, cities all over the world face many of the same challenges – and therefore needs roughly the same type of solutions.
“Danish companies should therefore collaborate with bigger cities, one good example is the New York City Danish cleantech hub”, Kevin Austin pointed out.
The City of Copenhagen has signed an agreement with New York on the exchange of knowledge on climate adaptation, and earlier this year, Ramboll won a prestigious contract to advise New York on climate adaptation.