Course Syllabus

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Sustainable Denmark Solutions and Dilemmas.JPG

Credits: E. Gentil, Ærø, DK

Semester & Location:

Summer 2022, Session 1 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

3 credits

Major Disciplines:

Environmental Studies, Public Policy, Sustainability

Faculty Members:

Emmanuel Gentil




Embla Thorsdóttir,

Time & Place:

09:00-13:00, Nørregade 7-B21

Description of Course

Denmark is seen as a global role model for its achievements regarding the implementation of sustainable development policy across a variety of sectors (energy, climate change, waste, water, gender equality, welfare, etc.) The transition to a more sustainable society could be further improved, for example, in the areas of farming, fishing, and transport.

This course investigates how successful various sustainability solutions are and how different sustainability dimensions are interconnected. The course will explore the potential dilemmas that Denmark faces when addressing sustainability. Finally, the course will map the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in the Danish context with an emphasis on climate change, arguably our biggest societal challenge.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course you will be able:

  • To understand why Denmark is leading the world in sustainability;
  • To appreciate the importance of system thinking in sustainability transition;
  • To demonstrate that the implementation of sustainable solutions can raise new challenges;
  • To experience concrete sustainability solutions that can be replicated elsewhere;
  • To locate a wide range of information on sustainability and to be able to engage in critical and reflective thinking on a number of sustainability issues
  • To articulate your own values and possible strategies for a sustainable future.

Faculty: Emmanuel Gentil

Ph.D. in environmental engineering, DTU, Denmark, 2011. Independent environmental consultant. Senior Consultant at Copenhagen Resource Institute, for the European Environment Agency and for the European Commission on waste management policy in EU. Ph.D. School Manager and Ph.D. researcher at DTU, Denmark 2006-2011. Master of business strategy and environmental management, Bradford, UK. With DIS since 2013.


Please note that there are no required textbooks to pick up from the library

City of Copenhagen (2009) A Metropolis for people. Visions and goals for urban life in Copenhagen 2015, 16 pp

City of Copenhagen (2013) CPH 2025 Climate Plan. a green, smart and carbon neutral city, 64 pp

City of Copenhagen (2012) Good, Better, Best. The City of Copenhagen’s Bicycle Strategy 2011-2025. 16 pp

Danish Council on Climate Change (klimaraadet) (2017) Transition Towards 2030. Building Blocks for a Low-Carbon Society. 28 pp.

Danish Energy Agency (2017) Denmark's Energy and Climate Outlook 2017. 50 pp

Danish Energy Agency (2017) The Danish Energy Model. Innovative, efficient and sustainable.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2015) Potential for Denmark as a circular economy. A case study from: delivering the circular. Economy – a toolkit for policy makers, 134 pp
State of Green (2016) Sustainable Urban Transportation. Creating green liveable cities, 13 pp
State of Green (2017) Wind Energy moving Ahead. 17 pp.
State of Green (2016) Financing The Green Transition. 28 pp
Science Env Policy (20 environmental topics covered. from "Agriculture" to "water". Great resource of emerging scientific papers)

Field Studies

In our first field study, you will experience one of the most modern Waste-to-Energy plant in the world that is providing district heating and electricity for a part of Copenhagen. 

During our second field study, we will visit how one suburb of Copenhagen, Gladsaxe, has climate adapted its community to ensure that anticipated increase of rain fall is controlled and to minimize damage from future extreme weather events, such as flooding.The municipality of Gladsaxe has developed its climate adaptation projects in such a way that it can be used daily for a number of activities and act as flood control area during rare but extreme cloud bursts.


     Field study 1: Visit to the waste to energy plant near Copenhagen

Field study 2: Visit to climate adaptation project in Gladsaxe

Field studies are visits or workshops lasting half a day. These field studies are an important, and mandatory, part of the course in order to experience a real life situation or to interact with external experts.

Approach to Teaching

The course consists of diverse of teaching methods, including formal lecturing, discussion, debates and site visits. The teaching material will include videos, book chapters, articles and reports.

In order to facilitate active participation in class, each of you will be asked to talk about news articles relevant to the subject during the first 10 minutes of each class. A list of sources will be provided. It is your responsibility to do the requested reading and watch the videos. This exercise will benefit the whole class by allowing us to have more informed discussions and thereby learn from each other.

Expectations of the Students

  • Participate in all activities
  • Engage in discussions, ask questions, and contribute to achieving the learning objectives;
  • Be critical;
  • Always think about transforming your knowledge into concrete actions beyond the classroom; and
  • Be curious!


You will be evaluated on your ability to actively engage in the classroom. This will include discussion, debates and group work.


You will receive written instructions in class regarding individual assignment details.

Assignment Percent
Daily Article presentation 15%
Mid-course quiz 15%
Sustainability mapping (SDG Diary) 20%
Sustainability Solutions assessment (Final presentation) 30%
General Participation  20%

Participation will be based on the following criteria:

  • Attendance
  • Active participation in class discussions
  • Preparation for each class
  • Reading all assigned texts
  • On-time submission of all class assignments
  • Active participation in study tours and field studies

-To be eligible for a passing grade in this class you must complete all of the assigned work.-

Disability and Resource Statement  

Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Office of Academic Support ( to coordinate this.  In order to receive accommodations, students should inform the instructor of approved DIS accommodations within the first two weeks of classes.



You are expected to attend all classes, guest lectures, workshops and field studies. If you must miss a class for religious holidays, medical reasons, or other valid reasons, you must let us know as far in advance as possible of the absence and obtain information about the work you must do to keep up in class. If you miss a class for any other reason (sudden illness, family emergency, etc.), you should get in touch with us as soon as possible and arrange to make up the work missed.

It is crucial for your learning that you stay on task and hand in assignments on or before the due date. All work– including in-class projects – have to be completed in order to pass the class. Late papers or projects will be marked down with 1/3 of a grade for each day it is late.

Academic Regulations

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:

Academic Honesty

Plagiarism and Violating the Rules of an Assignment

DIS expects that students abide by the highest standards of intellectual honesty in all academic work. DIS assumes that all students do their own work and credit all work or thought taken from others.   Academic dishonesty will result in a final course grade of “F” and can result in dismissal. The students’ home universities will be notified. DIS reserves the right to request that written student assignments be turned in electronic form for submission to plagiarism detection software.  See the Academic Handbook for more information, or ask your instructor if you have questions.

DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -

Course Summary:

Date Details Due