How Denmark Continues to Deliver Sustainable Solutions and Green Opportunities to US Companies
The COVID-19 crisis has brought international travel to a standstill, paralyzed entire countries, and shaken the foundations of the global economy. And yet, despite the systemic shock unleashed by the pandemic, the nation of Denmark has remained a paradigm of stability, both in terms of its response to the COVID-19 health crisis and in how it has confronted the pandemic’s economic aftershocks.
“The Danish government was one of the first to initiate relief packages for companies, regardless of their nationality, as long as they have a presence in Denmark,” notes Jens Birk, Deputy Director of Invest in Denmark (IDK) at Denmark in New York.
“In our view, this kind of response was extremely important, both in terms of helping the employees of these companies and in reassuring management that Denmark remains a committed business partner.”
Now, as Denmark reopens for business, the country’s storied sustainable practices and climate-focused policies are transforming its economic resurgence into a veritable Green Reboot, ensuring that the world’s post-COVID-19 recovery is one fueled by sustainable solutions, green investments, and a healthy dose of Danish efficiency and pragmatism. And, US companies, says Jens Birk, are more than welcome to join in.
Denmark in New York reached out to Mr. Birk to learn how IDK is offering Denmark’s green platform for United States-based companies looking to expand to Europe and project themselves into a more sustainable post-COVID future.
Denmark in New York: Highly digitalized with an efficient bureaucracy and a very educated, English-speaking workforce, Denmark is certainly one of the most interesting realities in the European panorama for American businesses. What have some of the key selling points about Denmark been over the past year that have won American hearts and businesses over?
Jens Birk: I work mostly within life sciences — an industry that is constantly looking to develop new drugs and improved ways of treatment. When looking for a place to run clinical research, Big Pharma is focusing on speed and reliability, and this can all be found in Denmark.
On top of this, US companies are interested in learning from the innovative and ambitious approach to sustainability of the Danish government and life sciences’ cluster.
The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered a potent blow to the global economy and international trade. How has IDK navigated the crisis and what have you been communicating to American companies amid the uncertainty?
Jens Birk: We have constantly been in touch with American companies to assure them that Denmark remains open for business. And we have been available the whole time to assist them in these uncertain times. In the beginning of the crisis, we all had to find a pragmatic way to manoeuvre in this new reality, so we took a step back on initiating new dialogues, unless the companies reached out to us.
You work a lot with the term ‘aftercare’. What is aftercare and how does IDK engage with it, especially now in relation to US businesses in these unprecedented times?
Jens Birk: Aftercare has always been a very important part of our job. Foreign companies locating activities in Denmark are often on the lookout for new opportunities, for instance within a different segment. And sometimes they are challenged and need to reevaluate their presence in Europe. Invest in Denmark helps them by offering to benchmark Denmark to other countries in Europe in order to make the right decision.
Right now, we’re assisting US companies in Denmark in navigating the economic reality of the COVID-19 aftermath. The Danish government was one of the first to initiate relief packages for companies, regardless of their nationality, as long as they have a presence in Denmark.
How has the pandemic affected the US business community, in particular, and why is Denmark still an exciting prospect for US companies looking to move into Europe?
Jens Birk: The pandemic has affected all companies around the world in all their markets. But Denmark was one of the first countries to begin reopening the economy, and Danish businesses and consumers are eager to restart the economy.
The pandemic has made it clear to the Danish government and business community that there is a strong need to develop new business models, for instance within healthcare. And this is where we need US companies and their innovative technologies.
Much is being made about the green reboot to the global economy. And Denmark is certainly best positioned to spearhead a green and sustainable recovery. How can Denmark help inspire US companies to follow a sustainable path and achieve their own green transition?
Jens Birk: For many years, Danish companies — and US companies in Denmark — have proven that sustainable solutions make business sense. The Danish government has given them the necessary framework conditions that have allowed them to develop solutions to achieve the green transition. And sustainability is now at the core of most companies in Denmark.
US companies locating activities in Denmark will become part of this way of thinking and working, and have the potential to improve their overall competitiveness by having a presence in Denmark.
Emilie Haaber Lynggaard is the Strategic Communications and Press Intern at Denmark In New York.