8 October 2014

Sustainable trends give businesses new opportunities


Danish companies need to pay close attention if they want to be frontrunners in technological development: University of Copenhagen brings together experts from more than 50 countries to discuss solutions to global challenges, international trends and possible scenarios for sustainable transition. This will take place at the international congress Global Challenges: Achieving Sustainability on 22-24 October 2014.The Danish Prime Minister and the Minister for Climate will also give talks.

Researchers will discuss economic and energy-related changes that can reduce carbon emissions in countries such as the US by 80% before 2050.

Researchers will discuss economic and energy-related changes that can reduce carbon emissions in countries such as the US by 80% before 2050.

The economy and energy will be among the weighty topics at the congress which will also focus on water and food supply, urbanisation, health and other areas related to the transition to a sustainable global society.

“It is essential for companies to stay up to date with the trends in the world community, especially when it comes to forms of political and economic governance, e.g. taxes or technological requirements for transition that can boost a certain technology or change consumer behaviour. These trends will reveal what companies need to focus on if they want to be at the forefront of the development,” says Peder Andersen, Professor of Resource Economics at the University of Copenhagen.

He will moderate the economics session at the congress together with Professor Frank Jotzo from the Centre for Climate Economics and Politics at the Australian National University. In the session, researchers will present ambitious scenarios for energy-efficient conversions of influential economies such as the US, China and Brazil.

“The transition to a low-carbon society is not just about climate change, but also about addressing e.g. an urgent demand for a development in China’s economy and tackling the serious health problem of particulate air pollution in cities. This can be a win-win situation in many ways if we get serious about pricing carbon,” says Peder Andersen.

Focus on solutions

Professor Katherine Richardson, head of the Sustainability Science Center at the University of Copenhagen, is responsible for the content of the congress. She explains:

“In order to solve the challenges facing society, new knowledge is needed, and this knowledge is gained through research. In fact, researchers have already come up with a number of solution-oriented proposals for how the global community can move forward with a sustainable transition. We want to bring these proposals out to a wider public, especially to decision-makers and business people. This is why we are organising this international congress, whose basic premise is to talk about solutions, not just challenges.”

In addition to Danish ministers and UN and EU representatives, influential business people will also give talks, including Peter Bakker, chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, who will talk about forward-thinking companies leading the development towards a more holistic growth for the benefit of society.

Major decisions to be taken now

The University of Copenhagen will host the international congress in cooperation with ten top universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, Peking University and the Australian National University. The congress directly follows the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF), and after the congress the think tank Sustainia will present its annual award to companies or projects with outstanding sustainable solutions.

New targets for sustainable development are expected to be adopted in the UN in 2015. In addition, a new global climate change agreement is planned for next year at COP21 in Paris during the UN climate change convention. This convention has been ratified by 192 countries, including the US.

“The big decisions affecting the future development of society are being made now. The best decisions are based on evidence, that is, knowledge, and new knowledge comes from research. Therefore, businesses, researchers and politicians must work together to ensure that we can realise our visions for sustainable global development,” says Katherine Richardson.

Programme, registration and more information

THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS has supported the congress as part of a DKK 5.8 mio grant for the Sustainability Science Center at the University of Copenhagen.


Professor Katherine Richardson
Sustainability Science Center
Mobile: +45 28 75 42 85

Professor Peder Andersen
Section for Environment and Natural Resources
Phone: +45 35 33 22 75

Head of Communications Elisabeth Wulffeld
Mobil: +45 21179140