WEF YGL Taskforce

The World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders Taskforce Series continues, with Ida Auken, Danish politician and advisory board member of EMG Group, leading the September issue. This month’s guest speaker was Anders Hoffmann, Deputy Director General of the Danish Business Authority in Denmark, who provided thoughtful insight into the challenges and opportunities identified by Denmark on its quest for the circular economy.

The Danish Business Authority is well-placed to speak on this exciting topic, having won the 2015 Award for Circular Economy Cities / Regions for their work in setting good framework conditions for the development of new green business models, innovative green products and services, as well as green industrial symbioses.

The Danish Business Authority is an organization operating under the Ministry for Business and Growth, and addresses the following subjects; policy and regulation, digital solutions, access to business data, communication technologies, business development, and international cooperation. A key objective of the authority is to understand the business environment through the lens of circular economy to increase the economy’s competitiveness in a sustainable way.

Through research, the Authority identified resource efficiency to be an area of interest. In spite of Denmark’s reputation as a progressive and forward-thinking economy, particularly in terms of green-energy infrastructure, the country had in fact relatively low resource efficiency. It became clear the interconnectivity of resource efficiency with productivity and economic competitiveness and, supported by Ida Auken, who lobbied extensively to open a dialogue among her peers, the complex and interrelated subject came to the foreground.

With governmental support and an open dialogue, the Danish Business Authority conducted extensive analysis and worked with a number of greening companies, including; Carlsberg, Arla, Novozymes, Gomore, Vigga and Radiometer, to name a few. They identified that improving resource efficiency could yield a €2 / hour rise in real wages, without compromising competitiveness. Other findings included:

  • A €1 million investment could create 120 jobs within 5 years
  • Economic potential of €3.6 – 6.2 billion in annual GDP contributions
  • 7,300 – 11,300 job creation
  • 0.8-2.3 million tonnes of CO2 reduced
  • Up to 50% resource savings for selected resources, including iron, steel and some plastics

Hoffmann spoke openly about some of the challenges the Danish government and businesses faced in the transition, but recognised the significant roles both actors had in bringing about a green economy transition. While there is no silver bullet, Hoffmann recognised that most importantly, is the need to level the playing field across and within sectors, to actively stimulate market activity and to ensure that EU policy complements national policy.

EMG would like to thank Anders Hoffmann and Ida Auken for an engaging insight into Denmark’s circular economy journey.

Daan Elffers, CEO of EMG Group, is a guest member on the Circular Economy Taskforce at the World Economic Forum.

Article: WEF YGL Taskforce Speaker Series