Green sustainable Öresund region - or eco-branding Copenhagen and Malmö?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


A positive image of a city or region attracts people, investors and enterprises. High-quality environment and local sustainability initiatives can be used for creating a positive image. A growing number of regions and cities around the world have in recent years attempted to exploit this opportunity through sustainable development strategies and innovative environmental initiatives combined with green image marketing. The Øresund region in Southern Scandinavia is an example of such a region that has gone to great effort to brand itself as green and sustainable. One of the central visions for the region when the Øresund cooperation was launched in 1994--after the decision to build a bridge across the Sound (Øresund) connecting Denmark and Sweden--was to become “one of the cleanest big city regions in Europe”. This goal was representative of the new environmental policy agenda that had emerged in the early 1990s. Environmental efforts came to be considered important not only for the sake of health, quality of life, and sustainability, but also for stimulating growth and enhancing attractiveness of the region. Stimulating environmentally sustainable development signals that this is an advanced region and encourages environmental innovations and export of related products and services. Particularly the major cities Copenhagen and Malmö have developed sustainability profiles and eco-branding strategies. They are often mentioned, particularly in European contexts, as eco-city forerunners and achieve high rankings in international comparisons.
In this chapter we discuss the recent development of the region--the decades prior to and the decade since the rise of eco-branding in the region--and analyze the relation between environmental quality in the region and policy programs to undergird the image of Øresund, Copenhagen and Malmö as green environmental forerunners of urban sustainability. Have the latter had marked impact on the environment? Or has eco-branding primarily capitalized on previous environmental improvement--much of which was exogenously driven? Is this a place where sustainable living is in the becoming? Our aim is not to provide exhaustive answers to these questions, but more modestly to present an analysis supporting the relevance of these questions while indicating conclusions which more thorough analyses may reach.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Human Geography


  • sustainability, eco-branding, ecologically unequal exchange, Copenhagen, Malmö
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainability: a global urban context
EditorsIgor Vojnovic
PublisherMichigan State University Press
ISBN (Print)978-1-61186-055-9
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch

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