COWI becomes carbon neutral in 2020


COWI is accelerating its drive towards a more sustainable future: “Next year, we will become carbon neutral, and within the next ten years, we will reduce our actual CO₂ footprint by 70 percent. The end target is zero emissions by 2050,” says CEO Lars-Peter Søbye.

COWI has decided to become carbon neutral in 2020 by funding carbon-offsetting projects around the world.

"This approach reduces emissions much faster than a single company can do by itself – unless we completely stop flying, for instance. As an international company, a total stop is not an option,” says CEO Lars-Peter Søbye.

What kind of carbon-offsetting projects will you focus on?

“We are thoroughly screening all projects to verify their validity before funding them. In particular, we are looking at projects within renewable energy, which is also at the core of our own business and strategy.

However, offsetting is not enough. Although we are in an industry with relatively low emissions, we need to deliver actual reductions. We aim to cut our carbon emissions by 70 percent before 2030 compared to 2008 levels. To put this in perspective, the Danish government recently announced the same climate goal, but using 1990 as baseline year. That means that we are actually more ambitious than the Danish government.”

How will COWI reach this target?

“A task force of sustainability experts within COWI has analysed potential impacts and provided their recommendations. Most of the reductions will have to come from making the best choices in how we transport ourselves, e.g. cutting down on travel wherever possible and flying with airlines that use greener fuel.

But other initiatives are needed, and action plans will be developed with input from across the business.

It is an ambitious target, but we will get there, if we all contribute through our day-to-day choices.

Sustainability is part of our vision and DNA, and it has been at the core of our business for many years. It is also where we see a great business potential for helping our customers and society whilst providing exciting challenges for our employees.

In the coming year, we will follow up on progress and develop and deliver new initiatives in collaboration with our clients. This part will have an increasing focus in coming years, because this is where we can make the greatest impact: Through our services to clients,” says Lars-Peter Søbye.


What is carbon offsetting?

Our everyday actions, such as driving, flying and heating buildings, consume energy and produce carbon emissions.

Offsetting is a climate action that enables individuals and organisations to compensate for the emissions they cannot avoid, by supporting projects that reduce emissions elsewhere.

The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduced through offsetting can be measured in UN Certified Emission Reductions (CERs). The CERs are generated from Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. These projects, which are undertaken in developing countries, earn 1 CER for each metric tonne of GHG emissions they reduce or avoid and are measured in CO2 equivalent (CO2-eq).

The CERs can then be bought by people and organisations to offset their own unavoidable emissions or as a contribution to the global climate action.

Many of the carbon offsetting projects also provide wider benefits such as biodiversity, education, jobs, food security and health & well-being in developing countries.

COWIs greenhouse gas emissions

COWI Group emitted 20,748 tonnes of greenhouse gasses in 2018. The main contributors were:

Tons CO₂

% of total emissions

Business Travel






Employee Commuting



Purchased Goods and Services



Upstream Leased Assets



Upstream emissions - Energy



Direct emissions



Upstream Transportation and Distribution



Waste Generated in Operations



The calculations are performed in accordance with the British Specification PAS2050 and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, and includes the following aspects:

  • Goods and services
  • Fuel
  • Waste
  • Business travel
  • Commuting
  • Energy consumption
  • Accommodation/hotel
  • Servers

On average, each COWI employee emits 3 tonnes CO₂-eq. per year, which is well in line with other companies in the engineering consulting industry.

NOTE: COWI's 70 percent reduction target is compared to 2008 levels and based on the company's current size and organisational structure.


Get in contact

COWI employee Søren Kragh Pedersen

Søren Kragh Pedersen
Head of Group PA & PR
Communication, Denmark

Tel: +45 2025 7018