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Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way

Cities look to the Nordics for sustainable solutions

Ten years have passed since the global urban population started to outnumber the rural population. Sustainable urban development is singled out as one of the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals, and cities all over the world are looking for innovative solutions to issues like urban planning, transport systems, water, waste management and energy.

Carsten Orth Gaarn-Larsen, CEO of the Danish cleantech cluster organisation CLEAN, sees exciting opportunities for Nordic cleantech companies to meet the global demand for sustainable urban development solutions.

“We see cities as the demand drivers of the sustainable transition, and these cities around the world are looking for holistic solutions to their climate challenges rather than ‘one technology’ solutions,” says Gaarn-Larsen.

However, the cities’ challenges are often big and Nordic cleantech companies are relatively small. Nordic companies therefore need to collaborate across borders to find innovative solutions to building better cities around the world, according to Gaarn-Larsen.

“The Nordic region has a great tradition of collaborating together on many levels, and we see this as essential for Nordic cleantech companies when entering international markets. By collaborating on a Nordic level, the expertise from the different Nordic countries will strengthen the export of Nordic solutions to global challenges,” says the CLEAN CEO.

Presenting urban challenges in Copenhagen

The Nordic countries have good reputations when it comes to sustainability, and on 23 May, 12 global cities in search of innovative solutions to major sustainability challenges, including Singapore and the Canadian city of Hamilton, will be coming to Copenhagen to participate in the Sustainable Urban Solutions Conference.

The conference is part of the Nordic Clean Energy Week 2018 in Malmö and Copenhagen, which includes the ninth Clean Energy Ministerial and the third Mission Innovation.

Through workshops and lectures, the cities hope to start finding collaborative solutions together with 400 Nordic and international guests, including companies, cities, investors and other experts.

The conference is funded by Nordic Innovation through the Nordic Sustainable Cities project, which is one of six flagship projects under the Nordic prime ministers’ initiative Nordic Solutions to Global Challenges, coordinated by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

CLEAN, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, Innovation Norway, Business Finland, Promote Iceland, Cleantech Scandinavia and Climate-KIC are members of the consortium behind the conference.

Photo 1: Jon Flobrant/Unsplash

Photo 2: Ricky John Molloy/