Green Transition: how Denmark became a low-carbon, sustainable society

Dec 16, 2022 10:01 am


This week's episode is all about Denmark's attitude and action towards building a greener economy.

In the 1970s, Denmark was like most other Western countries when it came to generating energy: the majority of the economy was built on non-renewable resources 

When oil crises hit after OPEC switched off oil supply, Denmark, and indeed much of the world, was hit with huge economic and social pain.

Once the flow oil came back, many countries began to return to their economies running on fossil fuels and, to some extent, it was business as usual.

But not in Denmark…

In this episode, we take a look at Denmark’s “Green Transition” - how (and why) the country took the hard path towards creating a low-carbon, resource-efficient society.

We cover

  • Why Denmark (unlike other countries) acted on transitioning away from “black” energy in the aftermath of the 1970s oil crisis
  • How Denmark’s public and private sectors collaborated to ensure a just transition in former oil cities
  • The Danish psyche of resource preservation demonstrated by toddlers turning off the taps
  • An alternative history of Denmark discovering the oil deposits of Norway
  • The mistakes Denmark made, and what they have learned from them

If you’re looking at the current energy crisis and seeking inspiration for how countries can move from being reliant on fossil fuels (controlled by unpredictable governments) then give this episode a listen!

In the studio

Sam went to visit Finn Mortensen, the Executive Director of State of Green, a Danish public-private partnership that exists to support and explain Denmark’s transition “from black to green”.

State of Green have lots of examples of Danish organisations doing climate-related work, and so do check them out if you're looking for inspiration!

In the picture

Our episode image this week is of off-shore wind turbines.


These have come to encapsulate Denmark's approach to green energy, making use of all of the water/ energy surrounding the country. They also form the basis of the North Sea Energy Island that Finn mentioned being excited about.

A message from our sponors...

This episode is sponsored by Talent to Denmark's "State of Denmark" campaign. 

Being a small country, with big climate ambitions, Denmark is actively looking to attract international talent to move to here.

If you're interested to learn more about jobs/ life and cycling to work in (one of) the happiest countries in the world, head to

Where to listen

As always, you can listen to this episode (+ all previous episodes) on:

Whilst there, a rating/ review would be much appreciated (if you can spare the time)

That's all for now!

As always, you can get in touch via the contact us page on our website if you have ideas for the show, or by replying to this email.

Happy Friday, I hope you're able to get everything done in the run-up to the holidays,


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