Denmark, but challenges for the global environment and for the health and prosperity of us all. Just one example: we have come far in our efforts to improve air quality in Denmark’s largest cities, yet too many people are still badly affected by pollution. This is a problem we share with cities all over the world. Examples of other significant challenges that still require attention include the scarcity of clean water, biodiversity loss, climate change, the dispersion of toxic chemicals, and unsustainably high levels of resource use. The opportunity is to deliver a green solution to these problems which at the same time strengthens the basis for growth. For example, we must develop technologies that reduce emissions from cars, power plants, ships; develop alternatives to fossil fuels, new business models and so on; and develop a framework around it that supports its market uptake both through regulation and through voluntary instruments such as green procurement. The challenge is to do it – the opportunity is to do it now and do it just a little bit better than the rest. How does the Danish government support Danish companies who want to go the extra mile pursuing green innovations? The Danish government supports green technology development through a number of targeted programmes, including a green technology development programme. Furthermore, the government actively promotes green public procurement. Specifically, we produce guidelines for public procurers regarding green product requirements, and green specifications are incorporated into a large number of multi-year public procurement framework contracts. In addition, a green procurement partnership between the Ministry of the Environment and major town municipalities has been established in order to encourage further targeted green demand. Other instruments in support of such companies are environmental certification and labelling schemes, whereby the Ministry for the Environment provides financial support to an independent ecolabelling secretariat, which provides assistance and guidance to companies. ● Interview by DAAN ELFFERS, head of the EMG Amsterdam office. EMG is a leading international sustainability consultancy, offering CSR consulting for profit and growth from sustainable development.
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“There is only one type of growth in the future…This growth is green and it provides business opportunities.” Ida Auken, Denmark’s Minister of the Environment.