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Sustainable Production:
Denmark to Be World Champions in Sustainability

New project to raise sustainability throughout Denmark’s production sector. We work mission-driven with six partners, and start in the Triangle region of Denmark

This project is a part of our theme
Green transition

The Challenge: How to create a sustainable production sector

The crises of the globe are lining up: Global warming, pollution, growing mountains of waste, and endangered biodiversity. Man’s way of life squeezes the earth’s resources, and future generations are looking into a bleak future if we do not act now.

The industrial sector plays a vital role in the global sustainability challenges. The industry consumes large amounts of resources, water, and energy, and it processes materials, generates waste, and emits CO2 and toxins. It transports raw materials, components, and products across oceans and continents. And when we throw away the old, the industry produces something new. We must radically change that.

The fact is that the Danish industry is not sustainable today. In fact, we are far from it. Especially when it comes to essential parameters such as waste management, water, and resource consumption. But the will to change exists. Many skilled industrial companies want to start the green transition – and we are eager to give them a helping hand to get off to a good start. 

The Mission: Denmark’s production sector must be the world’s most sustainable

We set the bar high. That is expected of us. Denmark is known as a green pioneer – a position we can only maintain if more companies start the transition to sustainable production now.

Core purpose of the project

  1. Denmark’s production sector must be the world’s most sustainable
  2. We work mission-driven and approach the challenge in an experimental way to learn and find the best and most scalable solutions
  3. We help companies make a fundamental strategic change. They will be ahead of customer demand, market development, and demands from the outside world

Sustainability must be considered a compliance exercise and an actual competitive parameter at the companies’ core. This means that businesses do not just have to be adjusted but reinvented: from linear to circular, with sustainability as the vital element in all products and operations. New solutions must be implemented at all stages of the value chain.

The individual company cannot do it alone. Change requires that we work together and find new paths. We will take the lead in an ambitious partnership with The Danish Industry Foundation, The Triangle Region of Denmark, the Alexandra Institute, Dandy Business Park, the Danish Technological Institute, and Force Technology. Together, we power up the green transition in Production Denmark. On an enormous scale.

We start in the Triangle region of Denmark – home to more than 600 small and medium-sized industrial companies. The ambition is to reach all production companies in the area as the first step on a journey that will later be extended to production companies in the rest of the country.

"Sustainability will be the crucial competitive parameter in the future. Many companies are experiencing increasing demands from customers, authorities, and the outside world. Therefore, the green transition needs to gear up. We must seize the opportunity to take the lead on behalf of the global industry and make sustainability a catalyst for growth and innovation. This project must be the focal point for that"

Thomas Hofman-Bang

CEO, Danish Industry Foundation

The Approach: We experiment

Many small and medium-sized businesses have difficulties grasping sustainability in a busy workday with full order-books and operations to take care of. Where to start, what to measure, and where to create the most value for the globe and business? 

Therefore, we experiment with the individual company and its role in the value chain from the beginning. In this way, companies are exposed to different ways of working with sustainability. We find the solutions to create real change. For example, through:

  • Management and strategy
  • Technology and data
  • Design of products and business models

 We aim to mobilize the companies and the actors who support them in their transition. In the coming months, the partners will start with a smaller number of companies. The long-term ambition is to transform the rest of Denmark’s production sector.

Designing missions

At DDC, we work purposefully with missions, and design as a method is a powerful approach to creating and solving missions:


“Using design as a mindset and method, we can define the future we want to create and ‘practice’ it through prototypes. This also applies when we want to make a sustainable production sector in Denmark. The project's mission can be seen as a design exercise, and missions do not arise by themselves – they must be created, and design can do just that”

Julie Hjort

Director of Sustainable Transition

Our role in the pilot project is to develop the project scope, facilitate the collaboration between the partners, and start testing and running focused efforts with the production companies. Our approach is mission-driven and design-based all the way through.

At DDC, we work based on the 10 actionable atoms that we defined with The Danish Industry Foundation and 28 other partners in our 30 for 2030 initiative. The 10 atoms tell us what we all need to do to create an irresistible circular society by 2030. In Sustainable Production, we focus on Atom 2: Closer to production, Atom 4: Courage, and Atom 10: Joint efforts.

The Partners

The project is developed with and supported by The Danish Industry Foundation.

The partners are:

Project timeline

  1. Pilot project: We start with a pilot project in the Triangle region. The pilot project focuses on the food industry’s value chain based on a small number of companies. Here, it is examined what efforts a transition to sustainable production requires.
  2. We start in the Triangle area: With the pilot project’s experience as a foundation, the ambition is to engage all of the Triangle area’s 6-800 production companies through a number of different project initiatives with a focus on sustainable production.
  3. National scaling: The long-term vision is for Denmark to have the world’s most sustainable production sector. Based on the experiences from the Triangle region, we will spread the effort to the rest of the country, so that all approx. 8,500 Danish production companies integrate sustainability centrally in their business.

Download flyer about the project in Danish

This project works on realizing the following actions

  • Collective Action
  • Proximity to production
  • Data eller New Story

Julie Hjort

Director of Sustainable Transition

Phone +45 2575 8933
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