dcsimg We must be both local and global - and not too Danish - Ramboll Group
14 November 2016

We must be both local and global - and not too Danish

Denmark has been working with sustainability for decades, and many Danish companies have incorporated it into their core strategies, but this advantage can in some cases also paradoxically become our disadvantage, said Ramboll’s CEO at an urbanization and export conference.

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.



Read more about our climate change solutions:

Taking the low-carbon leap
Read Ramboll's holistic take on liveability and growth in the new climate economy.

Zooming in on New Yorks climate challenges
New York is inspired by the scale of Copenhagen’s blue-green infrastructure. The city’s department of environmental protection has selected Ramboll to analyse whether similar solutions can also pay off in the biggest city in the US.


Jens-Peter Saul
Jens-Peter Saul
Group Chief Executive Officer
T+45 5161 1000