Denmark is already excelling in many areas of sustainability, positioning itself as an ambitious frontrunner in the race to net-zero. It already boasts mostly-renewable electricity generation, with targets to achieve 100% green electricity by 2027 and entirely renewable energy by 2050.
However, Denmark’s material consumption is more than three times higher than the estimated ‘sustainable’ level. Circular economy strategies can help the country reduce its material use by 39% and cut its carbon footprint by 42%, bringing it back within safe limits of the planet. The Circularity Gap Report Denmark shows possible ways forward.
DENMARK’S ECONOMY IS ONLY 4% CIRCULAR
This is considerably lower than the Circularity Metric for the global economy, measured at 7.2% in 2023.
This means that out of all the materials consumed only 4% make it back into the economy in the form of recycled materials.
But this doesn’t mean the other 96% of materials are wasted. Almost half of the materials in the Danish economy are locked into stock—from buildings and infrastructure to vehicles and machinery—and are unavailable for recycling for many years, while a further approximately 30% is renewable, carbon-neutral biomass.
Danes consume 24.5 tonnes of virgin materials per person per year
This is well above the EU average of 17.8 tonnes per person, and the global average of 12 tonnes per person. Moreover, this figure is more than three times higher than the estimated ‘sustainable’ level of consumption, 8 tonnes per capita. Denmark’s carbon footprint, at 11.1 tonnes per capita, also falls above the EU average of 9.5 tonnes per capita.