During the historic UN International Water Conference held in New York from March 22-24, a new digital water value chain was unveiled, emphasizing the importance of partnerships and sharing Danish expertise in the water industry. The conference, which served as a mid-term review of the UN Water Action Decade, aimed to address the global community’s failure to meet the commitments outlined in Sustainable Development Goal 6, which focuses on ensuring universal access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene. With the backdrop of the United States, the world’s largest water market, the conference explored ways to improve water consumption, management, and valuation for a sustainable future.

Danish Expertise and Water Solutions

Denmark stands as the European leader in the field of water, boasting the highest number of patents and exports of water technology per capita and Denmark’s significant contributions to the water sector were highlighted throughout the conference.

On March 22, World Water Day, the Danish Ministry of Environment, along with Danish Water Industries Federation, DI USA, Danish Cleantech Hub, and State of Green, organized an event in collaboration with global sustainable development consultancy Arup. 

During the event, State of Green unveiled a comprehensive visualization of the Danish water value chain, showcasing numerous concrete solutions addressing sustainable groundwater management, water supply efficiency, and energy-neutral wastewater treatment.

Discover the digital water value chain: State Of Green Value Chains

Magnus Heunicke, the Danish Minister for Environment, expressed the potential impact of Danish water companies, “If we work together across authorities and the private sector, we can help solve some of the world’s biggest water issues.” 

Denmark is at the forefront of global agendas, such as addressing PFAS and managing nitrous oxide emissions from wastewater treatment plants, according to Mads Helleberg Dorff, of the Danish Water Industries Federation.

“The interaction across the public and private sectors ensures our global position as a supplier of everything from sustainable products to forward-looking advisory services,” he said “Their collaboration between the public and private sectors enables Denmark to offer sustainable products and forward-looking advisory services.” 

Finn Mortensen, Director of State of Green, highlighted Danish companies’ expertise in energy optimization and climate neutrality, stating, “Danish companies have disruptive and well-tested technologies and are ready to engage in new partnerships.” 

"In Denmark are constantly tuning in to the latest global agendas, such as PFAS and the management of nitrous oxide emissions from wastewater treatment plants. The interaction across the public and private sectors ensures our global position as a supplier of everything from sustainable products to forward-looking advisory services."
Mads Helleberg Dorff
Mads Helleberg Dorff
Danish Water Industries Federation.

Addressing Water Challenges in the United States

During the conference, discussions focused on the fact that the United States faces significant water challenges and infrastructure needs. 

Approximately 2.2 million Americans lack access to running water and basic indoor sanitation, and many cities struggle with a high water loss rate of around 20%. Moreover, the frequency of extreme weather events and rising sea levels further exacerbate these challenges. 

“The intensifying effects of climate change, from droughts to hurricanes, floods, and sea level rise, make the sustainable planning and design of our infrastructure more critical than ever. Cross-sector and multidisciplinary collaboration is the key in helping our communities and cities manage their water resources sustainably while meeting demands associated with climate change,” said Janine Witko, Principal and Americas Water Leader at Arup.

With the Biden administration’s focus on green infrastructure and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the US is increasingly prioritizing environmental sustainability. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates a requirement of over DKK 5,200 million/USD 741 million for maintaining water infrastructure over the next two decades. 

In these discussions, the Danish delegation presented Danish capabilities and how Danish water technology could help the host nation.

Danish water companies have been working on energy optimization and climate neutrality for years. The green focus of the US is, by comparison, fairly new.  Danish companies have disruptive and well-tested technologies and are ready to engage in new partnerships.
Finn Mortensen
Finn Mortensen
Director of State of Green

Strong US-Danish Partnership

The strong US-Danish partnership is built on trade and investment. Going beyond the water sector, US exports to Denmark amount to 17.3 billion USD, with US FDI in Denmark being 7.4 billion USD. Whereas Danish exports to the US amount to 30 billion USD, with Danish FDI in the US being 27.7 billion USD. Denmark ranks as number 7 in the world on sources of FDI into the US, with a 16.7 pct. growth from 2015 to 2020.