Type 1: Commercial partnership

Sector of the company/organisation


Name of activity/project (or solution offered)

Smarter Cities Challenge

Relevant urban sustainability topic

climate (mitigation, adaptation,…)

Start year


End year


Brief project summary

The City of Copenhagen, Denmark is one of 31 cities selected in 2013 to receive a Smarter Cities Challenge® grant as part of IBM’s citizenship efforts to build a Smarter Planet®. 

Short activity description

Copenhagen has made significant strides to displace fossil fuel power plants by using renewable sources (wind, solar and municipal waste power) since declaring its initiative. These efforts have already decreased the City’s carbon emissions by 40%. The City remains committed to driving the remaining reductions through 2025, although doing so represents a significant challenge.

The City has decided to use data as a tool to reduce energy consumption and as a platform to develop new solutions to help change behavior related to energy consumption. The City wants to achieve its carbon neutrality goals while fostering economic and job growth. It recognizes that data can inform decision makers who, in turn, drive the innovations they know are needed to close the emissions gap between now and 2025. The City states that it needs a better strategy for using accessible data to achieve this goal, as well as a gap analysis of which data and digital infrastructures are needed to support the goal of increased energy efficiency.

Is this project a best practice? Why?

The City of Copenhagen has built a solid foundation from which it can foster new innovative capabilities. But in order to achieve the aims of the 2025 Climate Plan, it needs to raise its game by demonstrating leadership in the intertwined areas of climate change, energy consumption and transportation performance.

What are the main lessons learned during implementation?

Based on the team’s findings and the testing of its initial design approaches (or hypothesis), the team recommends that the City think big: raise the level of the discussion from data to value creation, wherein data is a necessary but insufficient component to alone meet the 2025 Climate Plan’s goals. Given the findings, there is a clear imperative to establish a value creation and demonstration framework and associated accountability structure to achieve the team’s four recommendations


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