dcsimg Countering resource scarcity - Ramboll Group

Countering resource scarcity

Sustainable innovation is required to solve the challenges we face due to the increasing scarcity of energy and resources. This particularly applies to the Arctic, where global climate change opens up access to new natural resources. 
The earth’s resources are placed under pressure due to increasing consumption, a growing population and a continuous strive for a better life. Scarcity of every kind awaits us – shortage of food and water, energy and natural resources. And – especially in the Western World – shortage of capital presents an additional challenge.

Pioneering thinking

At Ramboll, we aim to contribute to improved living standards through the solutions we create. At the same time, we work to develop concepts that take into account climate change and a lack of resources – both in terms of our customers’ budgets and in terms of how we use natural resources.

If we can use resources more efficiently, it will give us more for less. As a result, both society and individuals will become more affluent. The key is to exploit the potential that technology offers. We also need, however, to find new solutions and take advantage of the potential inherent in tried and tested solutions.

A sensitive region

To maintain a constant development, our modern society needs access to natural resources. Today, Greenland is at the epicentre of development driven by global climate change and the emerging accessibility of new natural resources. This transformation is creating unprecedented opportunities in the fields of transport, oil, and natural resource extraction, mining operations and energy.

Greenland. Photo: DanClimb

According to Nils Arne Johnsen, Ramboll Market Director for the Arctic, environmental considerations are urgent and imperative for future activities in the Arctic, as this is one of the most sensitive regions of the world. He explains that engineers, biologists, geophysicists and geologists are collaborating to offer health, safety and environmental services:

"International companies need expert advice about the harsh, Arctic environment, which has to remain as untouched as possible. When it comes to the oil and gas industry, Ramboll makes use of both local knowhow and global experience. This gives us unique possibilities. Aside from technical expertise, we are familiar with local, economic conditions and the rights of the local population. That is what makes us one of the leading consultants in the Arctic."

As the ice is melting in the Arctic region, oil, gas and other natural resources, which have been hidden under thick layers of ice, are becoming easier to access. With technical skills, in depth knowledge of the region and the combined strengths of different specialists, there is a good possibility to benefit from the resources while safeguarding the sensitive Arctic nature.  

Oil-, gas-, and environmental technologies go together

In order to stand a chance in the Arctic region where the degree of cold is extreme and the icebergs and waves are huge, it is imperative to know all the challenges that lie ahead. That is why knowledge about the area combined with the right preliminary studies is paramount to the success of a project.

Søren Knudsen, Head of Ramboll's environmental team in Stavanger specialized in oil and gas projects, explains how continued co-operation between environmental- and oil- and gas experts is vital:

"Before initiating any exploration drilling or potential oil production in the Arctic, we have to make sure that all contingency plans and environmental approvals are in place in order to make as little environmental impact as possible. Oil technology and environmental services always go hand in hand."  

Sustainable development in the Arctic

The Arctic is experiencing unprecedented interest from international companies looking to extract minerals. Mining activity in Sweden is growing rapidly, creating new opportunities for the country. These include major investments – not only in rail transport and harbour facilities, refineries and mines - but also in urban development.

For example, Ramboll provides consultancy to the local authority of Gällivare on how to design the town, which is being relocated in response to the heavy mining activity in nearby Malmberget.

“We envision building Ny Gällivare as a world-class Arctic town. The community needs a sense of security and strength as it undergoes this unique transformation and radical change. People, investors and other interests in the community need to know where it is best to locate in terms of mining operations,” says urban planner Sandra Viklund from Ramboll.

Possible Greenland: Visualisation: BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group

Rare earth elements

Today, global mining companies are keen to extract zinc, lead, iron ore, gold, diamonds, rubies and rare earths from Greenland’s subsoil. Rare earths are used in wind turbines, hybrid and electric cars, energy-saving light bulbs and LED screens and are therefore crucial to our development as a fossil-free society.

To help Greenlandic companies gain a foothold in the growing market, the Government of Greenland launched a two-year programme in 2012 to enhance the qualifications of Greenlandic companies wanting to become sub-suppliers to the new industries in Greenland. A wide array of services is needed – from developers, transport and security personnel, craftsmen, shipping workers and logistics to health care staff.

The project is spearheaded by Ramboll, which due to a 25-year presence in the country, possesses unique expertise regarding local conditions in Greenland – and takes great pride in ensuring that the radical changes underway are appropriately implemented.

“The project will hopefully help stimulate employment, enhance competencies at companies and thereby drive sustainable development in Greenland,” says Ramboll’s Henrik Rosenberg Seiding, Senior Director, Management Consulting.

Architecture as a vehicle of change

The ‘Possible Greenland’ exhibition at the 13th International Architecture Biennale in Venice focused was on using architecture as a means of influencing Greenland’s development. Danish and Greenlandic architects, engineers, planners and ethnologists created four specific proposals illustrating how to think differently about airports, harbours and infrastructure and how new types of housing might look.

These visionary ideas have resulted in a proposal for a new, combined ‘super harbour’ and international airport outside Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, as well as a sustainable type of housing with a new Arctic architectural style rooted in Greenlandic values and traditions, and a Greenlandic city designed to welcome the entire world without losing its identity. Ramboll was the technical consultant for each of the scenarios.


Photo: Shutterstock

Learn more

Annual Report 2012
Annual Report 2012

Visit the Annual Report 2012 website
Download the Annual Report 2012 as pdf
Read the online magazine of Annual Report 2012

Sustainable Arctic Development brochure
Sustainable Arctic Development brochure
The Arctic is experiencing unprecedented interest from international companies looking to extract minerals, gems and oil, which is fuelling the economic and social development of countries straddling the region.
Sustainable Arctic Development brochure (PDF 2.1 MB)


Nils Arne Johnsen
Arctic Director
T+47 975 93 858