An energy company from Denmark has recently been named the most sustainable company in the world by Forbes magazine. The list includes companies from a broad range of industries from manufacturing to technology. Orsted tops the list due to their aggressive agenda to become the first carbon neutral and fossil fuel free energy company in the history of the world. Orsted, named after Hans Christian Orsted who discovered electromagnetism, controls a portfolio that includes wind, solar, biomass, and waste to energy. Orsted began their transition in 2006 when the company was focused mainly on fossil fuels. Since then the company has decreased its carbon footprint by 93% with the goal of 100% by 2025.
The company is currently the world’s leader in wind energy, providing 26% of global capacity. The company has expanded their solar and storage operation with the opening of a 101-acre solar farm in Fairfield, New Jersey, the largest on the east coast. Orsted has slowly been replacing their coal portfolio with sustainable biomass, using wood bi products from sustainable forestry.
Household waste to energy is another sector the company engages in, and one that is normally left to waste management companies. Branded as Renescience, the operation creates energy from collecting residential waste. The system works by collecting waste, mechanically sorting out recyclables, then a series of anaerobic digesters and enzymes break down waste. Liquified organic waste is turned into a biofuel. Digestate is used for soil restoration to restore the land from past mining operations. All remaining waste that cannot be recycled or broken down is then used in incinerators that create more energy or for use in the construction of roads.
From top to bottom, Orsted has figured out how to clean up their operation over time to become an inspirational company that others can learn from. The company also proves that even the dirtiest fossil fuel companies can change their practices incrementally to be part of a solution rather than a problem while also turning large profits.