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Nov 1, 2016

3 Reasons Why Denmark is Leading among Other Countries in the Sustainability

After the Paris Agreement in December 2015, sustainable life and green energy should be emphasized and improved in many ways in many countries who signed the agreement. Having lived in Denmark for a couple of years and working within sustainable energy, I have found two articles that highlight the sustainable life and energy in Denmark that can be a great example to be implemented in other countries.

In the article “Denmark’s Collaborative Culture Makes it a Breeding Ground for Sustainability” in The Guardian, Oliver Bach says that what distinguishes Denmark from almost all its European peers is the proactive approach of successive governments to sustainability issues. The country's environmentalists point out that Denmark was the first in the continent to establish an official environment ministry (back in 1971, almost three decades before the UK). She also points out that in Denmark there are tax incentives for low-carbon technologies and renewable energy generation. All in all, she concludes that proactive government, social responsibility and a willingness to collaborate have put Denmark ahead on sustainability.

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Recycling culture is also very popular in Denmark, from recycling waste, clothes, until home furniture. In the article, "Recycling is a Hit with the Business Community", Rikke Brøndum says that in Denmark, large corporations have put a spotlight on the so-called circular economy which is all about reusing waste or selling it on. Just as an example, Carlsberg, the Danish beer company, has decided to develop a 100% degradable fibre bottle which can be reused as cardboard and which will not harm the environment. Rikke continued saying that packaging accounts for almost 50% of the beer giant's costs, so if it wants to be able to continue to offer beer at a reasonable price around the world, the company has to keep the costs down.

Based on my review of these two articles and my experience living in Denmark and working within a sustainable energy, there are 3 reasons why Denmark is leading among other countries in terms of sustainable:
1.       Renewable energy at its best
As stated earlier, there are tax incentives for low-carbon technologies and renewable energy generation. Furthermore, wind energy is very popular as in 2015, 42.1 percent of the country's energy needs being met by wind power according to the state-owned energy company Energinet as posted by Treehugger.
2.       Recycling culture
The recycling habit of the citizens, by buying, using, selling, and giving secondhand items is also followed by the large corporations as an effective business and or CSR strategy.
 3.       Proactive approach of successive governments to sustainability issues
The Danish governments also support the green transportation solution, for example by providing excellent bike lanes in most cities. Even Copenhagen municipality has a goal to become the world’s best city for cycling.

Sustainable energy and environment will be more massive and be considered as lifestyle soon or later. Thus, learning from the pioneer in these areas can be beneficial for many countries following up the Paris Agreement.

Ethenia Novianty Windaningrum is a Marketing & Communications professional who lives in Denmark after her graduating from her Master's study from Aarhus University She is interested in sustainable, digital, and marketing and can be reached out on LinkedIn:

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