One of the Three Best Paper Awards, ICSC 2014 Malaysia

Copenhagen - On Road to a Zero Carbon City

Copenhagen - On Road to a Zero Carbon City
Case Code: SUST018
Case Length: 7 Pages
Period: 2009 - 2014
Pub Date: 2014
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.300
Organization: Copenhagen City Administration
Industry: Green Technology
Countries: Denmark
Themes: Environmental Sustainability
Copenhagen - On Road to a Zero Carbon City
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


In 2012, the Copenhagen City administration released the 2012 CPH2025 Climate Plan, thereby becoming the first capital city in the world to commit itself to achieving carbon dioxide (CO2) neutrality by 2025. The plan envisaged collaborative efforts by various stakeholders including city authorities, the private sector, utilities, universities, and citizens. The climate plan was an important element of the city's green growth strategy. The strategy also aimed at the city becoming an important player in the growing global market for green technology. The deployment of the technology and implementation of measures was expected to generate jobs and income to the city as well.

The climate plan envisaged implementation of initiatives in four important areas viz., energy consumption, energy production, mobility, and city administration. Earlier, in 2009, the Copenhagen City Council had set itself the target of reducing carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2015 compared to the levels in 2005 and also announced its vision of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. The target was achieved in 2011 itself, well ahead of schedule.

An interesting aspect of the initiative was the involvement of the city's residents. Half of the investment in the wind generators planned as part of the initiative came from individual Copenhagen shareholders.

In recognition of its consistent record of achieving high environmental standards and its commitment to ambitious goals, Copenhagen city received the 2014 European Green Capital Award from the European Commission. The award also recognized the unique characteristic of Copenhagen as a Cyclist's Dream and the good buy-in that the city obtained from all its stakeholders for the initiative to promote cycling.


The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Copenhagen's approach to achieving carbon neutrality by 2025
  • The factors that facilitated Copenhagen in its initiative
  • Copenhagen's efforts to collaborate with all stakeholders in its efforts
  • Unique characteristic of Copenhagen as a Cyclist's Dream and its contribution to becoming carbon neutral
  • Long-term strategy of Copenhagen to become a major supplier for green technologies in the global market



Zero Carbon City, Carbon Neutrality, Climate Plan, Green Growth Strategy, Green Technology, Sustainability, Green Capital, Cyclist's Dream, Carbon Emission, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Mobility, Copenhagen, European Commission, Kyoto Agreement, Greenhouse Gas Protocol

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