Towards a Greener Future: How Denmark’s Energy Island Project Leads the Way for Organizations to Develop Sound Sustainable Practices

Denmark's Energy Island

Denmark’s “energy island” will mark the first of its kind. Funded by both the government as well as the private sector, this project is designed to supply electricity for three million households in Denmark and may also extend its reach to the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany. There are even plans to use green hydrogen for shipping and transportation.

The island will be located 50 miles off the eastern coast, its total size will be anywhere from 120,000 to 360,000 square meters and it will house 200 offshore wind turbines. From a cost perspective, it will be the largest construction project the country has undertaken, with an estimated total cost of $34 billion (€28 billion).

Under Denmark’s Climate Act, the country has committed to an ambitious 70% reduction in 1990 greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and to becoming CO2 neutral by 2050. On top of that, leaders recently announced that they were going to phase out all new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea. These goals further corroborate why Denmark sits at the top of the list of the most sustainability-focused countries, according to the 2020 Environmental Performance Index (followed by Luxembourg and Switzerland). With respect to achieving Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN, it ranks as number one in the SDG Index 2019.


Key Examples of How Other Nations are Working Towards their Sustainability Goals


This is not to say that other nations or global organizations are not making plans to reach their sustainability targets or developing strategies to achieve them.

Here are some examples of these efforts:

  • The United Kingdom has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
  • U.S. President Joe Biden has announced, through the Biden Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice, that the United States will achieve a 100 percent clean energy economy and reach net-zero emissions no later than 2050. The US rejoining the Paris Climate Accord in January 2021 marked the first step towards achieving these goals.
  • In 2020, Luxembourg launched its “Sustainability Bond Framework,” which was designed to help the nation meet the International Capital Markets Association (ICMA) Green, Social and Sustainability Bonds principles.
  • Australia’s state of New Wales is planning on investing approximately $23 billion dollars in renewable energy technologies and plans on shutting down 80% of their coal-fired power plants by 2035.


So How and Why Does This Affect Your Organization?


As ambitious as these projects appear to be, they are, in fact, a reflection of a bigger change: that environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) goals have made their way to the heart of business and investment planning, as highlighted by the World Economic Forum in their report “Measuring Stakeholder Capitalism: Towards Common Metrics and Consistent Reporting of Sustainable Value Creation.” The report states that due to changes in public policy, sustainability-focused business strategies and programs now are being examined to see what impacts they have on the environment, people and profit. Equally as important, it looks at the role of technology and innovation in meeting these objectives.

The strong focus that governments are putting towards ramping up sustainability efforts will result in the development or updates to policies, programs and regulations which, ultimately, organizations will have to comply with. This is where EHSQ practitioners can help organizations meet their sustainability goals. With sound sustainability programs in place and the use of EHSQ software solutions, they will be equipped to take on the task at hand.    


How Organizations Can Develop Sound Sustainability Goals by Basing Them on ISO 50001:2018 and ISO 14001:2015


One of the ways organizations can meet their corporate social responsibility objectives is by developing programs that incorporate ISO standards. For sustainability programs, key standards to apply are:

  • Energy Management (ISO 50001):
    • The ISO 50001:2018 standard provides a framework to help organizations develop efficient ways to use energy, minimize the use of resources and mitigate their environmental impact by using the energy management system (EnMS). With this end-goal in mind, it can help organizations formulate policies and programs, establish quantifiable targets and goals, make data-driven decisions that can be measured and drive continuous improvement.
  • Environmental management systems — Requirements with guidance for use (ISO 14001:2015): 
    • The ISO 14001:2015 standard outlines the requirements for an environmental management system for organizations to use to improve their environmental performance—all in a methodical and organized manner. At the highest level, this method can help organizations meet their compliance requirements and environmental goals.

How EHSQ Tools Can Help


As the focus on sustainability continuous to increase, organizations are turning to EHSQ software solutions to help them achieve their sustainability objectives. These cloud-based platforms provide extensive mobile and offline capabilities, data import tools, document control and API access, as well as a suite of applications that supports compliance and regulatory requirements, mitigate risk and improve business performance.

Some examples of these EHSQ-focused applications are Sustainability Performance Indicators, Environmental Aspects & Impacts, Waste Management and Water Quality Management. To date, many organizations have already reaped the benefits of using these tools. Take, for example, Subaru Canada. By implementing applications such as Environmental Management Suites, they were able to eliminate the number of nonconformances (from 4 to 0 per year) and maintain their ISO 14001 certification.

To learn more about how sustainability-focused applications can help your organizations improve their environmental performance, please click here.


References: 


Aljazeera Media Network. (2021). https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2020/11/9/australian-state-unveils-23bn-renewable-energy-push 

BBC. (February 2020). https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-55931873 

Copenhagen Capacity. https://www.copcap.com/news/denmark-is-world-champion-in-un-sustainable-development-goals#:~:text=Denmark%20tops%20the%20SDG%20Index,quality%20education%20and%20reducing%20inequalities

Forbes. (June 2020). https://www.forbes.com/sites/tamarathiessen/2020/06/05/10-most-green-countries-europe-us-ranks-24-environment/?sh=65615edf75ad 

Intelex Technologies ULC. (January 2021). ESGs and Sustainable Value Creation: Aligning Reporting Against Environmental, Social and Governance Indicators.

International Organization for Standardization.  https://www.iso.org/iso-50001-energy-management.html 

International Organization for Standardization. https://www.iso.org/standard/60857.html 

Le Gouvernment du Grand-Duche de Luxembourg. https://luxembourg.public.lu/en/invest/competitiveness/sustainability-framework.html 

NPR. (January 2020). https://www.npr.org/sections/inauguration-day-live-updates/2021/01/20/958923821/biden-moves-to-have-u-s-rejoin-climate-accord 

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