Tuesday, October 10, 2023 12:00 PM

International award for ProjectZero

Partnership awarded

Sønderborg is the setting for an award-winning partnership

Sønderborg is the setting for an award-winning partnership

Peter Bjerke

In competition with more than 50 participants from around the world, ProjectZero from Sønderborg received the World Economic Forum's Award for Public-Private Collaboration in Cities late last night.


The World Economic Forum is an independent international organisation that aims to improve the state of the world through public-private collaboration.

Since 2007, Bitten & Mads Clausen's Foundation, together with the municipality, businesses, citizens, energy companies and institutions, has been working towards a carbon-neutral Sønderborg in 2029. This has been done under the auspices of ProjectZero, and last night the partnership was recognised with the World Economic Forum's (WEF) award for Public-Private Collaboration in Cities.

The Public-Private Collaboration Award was presented at the WEF Urban Transformation Summit in Detroit, USA. Rick Sporrer, President of the North America Region at Danfoss, accepted the award on behalf of ProjectZero.

Formula for everyone
Since ProjectZero's inception in 2007, the Sønderborg area's energy-related CO2 emissions have been reduced by 57 percent, corresponding to a saving of around 400,000 tonnes of CO2, and a further 300,000 tonnes have to be reduced before reaching the net-zero target in 2029.

Lars Tveen, CEO of the Foundation and Chairman of the Board of ProjectZero, emphasises that the solutions found in Sønderborg can be used anywhere: 

With ProjectZero, we have, through strong collaboration, broken down the barriers that stood in the way of a successful green transition. In Sønderborg, private and public players have found a formula that ensures that we prioritise energy efficiency first. Then we make sure that the energy produced is recycled, and finally, we meet the need for new energy with renewable solutions. This formula reduces the cost towards carbon neutrality by 50% – and it's a formula that can be used anywhere, by anyone.

Lars Tveen, CEO of Bitten & Mads Clausen's Foundation and Chairman of the Board of ProjectZero.


ProjectZero's recipe is to create a cohesive energy system built on the three key principles: Energy efficiency, sector integration and green energy sources. The different energy sources and sectors are linked together in a flexible, digitalised network that enables, among other things, houses to be heated with waste heat from local businesses and electric cars to be charged when energy consumption is at its lowest. Data ensures that energy is utilised as efficiently as possible.

Mayor Erik Lauritzen is very pleased with the award and says: 

It is a great pleasure to be the mayor of a municipality where we really understand how to come together and work collaboratively to create results. That is why I am particularly pleased and proud that our strong partnership has been awarded by the World Economic Forum. Collaboration is key to our success in reaching net-zero by 2029.

Erik Lauritzen, Mayor, Sønderborg Municipality


Accelerate climate action
The fact that ProjectZero's model is easy to scale and adapt to other towns, which means that it can be used as a direct source of inspiration, is one of the reasons emphasised by the World Economic Forum in its selection. Says Jeff Merritt, head of the World Economic Forum's Centre for Urban Transformation:

ProjectZero provides a model for how the public and private sectors can work together to deliver on big and bold ambitions that would otherwise not be possible. By recognising this world-leading effort, we hope to encourage and inspire other towns and cities to follow suit and create new partnerships to accelerate climate action.

Jeff Merritt, Head of the WEF Centre for Urban Transformation

You can read more about ProjectZero on their website by following this link: