Copenhagen named world’s most sustainable city

The Danish capital shone for its track record of slashing carbon emissions and converting wind and waste into green energy

Copenhagen squeezed out green tech hubs Frankfurt and San Francisco to claim the top spot (photo: pxfuel.com)
January 4th, 2022 3:55 pm| by Lena Hunter
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Online education platform GetSmarter has pegged Copenhagen as the world’s most sustainable city in a new report on green lifestyles entitled ‘Sustainability: The Meaning, Changing Perceptions, and Expanding Agendas’.

A sustainable city is defined as “one that’s able to retain the supply of natural resources while achieving economic, physical and social progress, while remaining safe against environmental risks”.

READ MORE: Transform your career and become the leader our future needs with an MBA programme from Copenhagen Business School

Many factors are in play here: affordable housing, green transport, energy and waste production, digitisation and more.

City-dwellers drive green demand
The 20 top cities were selected from 65 participating countries – all of which had a high density of so-called “green professionals”, who help to drive demand for sustainable standards.

In Germany, for example, 75 percent of people say an organisation’s commitment to sustainability impacts their decision to purchase their products or services. In the UK, that figure is 90 percent.

Copenhagen lays waste to competitors
Denmark was the highest-rated country on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) in 2020. Since 1995, Copenhagen’s carbon emissions have dropped by 50 percent and it’s on track to become the first major carbon-neutral city by 2025.

Such an exemplary carbon track record, combined with continued efforts in green energy and waste conversion, draws sustainability-conscious professionals and businesses.

In particular, GetSmarter praised the “innovative” Amager Bakke clean-burning incinerator, which converts 534,600 tonnes of municipal waste a year into energy – enough to electrify 30,000 homes and heat 72,000. Less than 2 percent of Copenhagen’s waste goes to a landfill.

See which other cities made the top 20 below, and read up on why here.

    1. Copenhagen
    2. Frankfurt
    3. San Francisco
    4. Reykjavík
    5. Singapore
    6. Amsterdam
    7. Canberra
    8. Stockholm
    9. London
    10. Vancouver
    11. Vienna
    12. Berlin
    13. Zurich
    14. Grenoble
    15. Portland
    16. Ljubljana
    17. Oslo
    18. Lisbon
    19. Montevideo
    20. Masdar City

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