In North Jutland we want to be frontrunners in the development of green technologies and solutions to meet the national climate goals. And we have come a long way. As a matter of fact, the green transition accelerates with such a speed that the legislation gradually finds it difficult to keep up with the companies’ ambitions.
At Port of Aalborg, I work closely together with a wide range of companies from the Danish industry who work hard every day to build, expand and operate in a more climate-friendly way. Unfortunately, we often experience that paragraphs, permissions and outdated legislation become a restraining factor for the green solutions – and that is a huge problem as there is no time to gamble with the green transition. The legislative framework must provide space for companies to bring their innovative ideas to life – not limit them in doing so.
So how do we help companies realizing the green ambitions? The answer is among other things dialogue. Dialogue between operators, authorities, and legislative instances. In the industry we talk about partnership agreements where operator involvement and dialogue are included as a condition on equal terms with economy. Such agreements are created from the realization that if the level of sustainability is going to be lifted everybody must expand their perspective with experiences and input from outside. Nobody can do everything, everyone can do something, together we can do more.
Allow me to give an example from my own workplace. In connection with the construction of the new quay at the east port in Aalborg we have succeeded in securing a CO2 reduction of 40 % while we also increase the weight load of the quay by more than 50 %. Without additional costs, of course. It is a win, win, win project. Best of all, the main ingredient is to reuse soil from other construction projects. In that way we save driving and virgin materials.
However, we are along the way challenged by the fact that, in terms of authorities, there is no clear answer to whether soil is considered a resource or waste. For that reason, we prioritize an early cooperation with specialists from our adviser, contractor, and the authorities and together we find a template that gives a positive result in both the climate accounting and the economy.
And that leads me to another important point.
Sustainability is no longer philanthropy and nonsense – it is cool business. There is enormous competition and export potential in being able to embrace and facilitate the green transition. So, if the companies in North Jutland are to remain competitive and able to contribute positively to both growth and reduction targets, the legislation needs to be able to accommodate it when companies renew and think smarter.
Let me by the way make it clear that among employees at authorities and legislative bodies I experience a great willingness to promote the green agenda. They have no intention of interfering with the good solutions but unfortunately, they operate from a legal framework that makes them limited in granting permission for new projects without time-consuming permits and paperwork. And we need to change that.
So, to answer the question I initially ask: No of course we must not lead the green ambitions drown in bureaucracy and legislation! We must find a smarter way of doing things where broad cooperation, dialogue and stakeholder involvement help keep us afloat rather than dragging us down.