From black to green – A national oil company’s green business transformation


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By Ørsted, April 20, 2021


Increasingly companies all over the world are seeing the need to transform to a sustainable business model. They are faced with demands from customers, investors, policymakers, employees, and other stakeholders to become more sustainable, which is profoundly changing the business environment. In this context, most companies need to transform their business to continue to create value for their stakeholders and shareholders. In the late 2000s Ørsted was one of the most coal intensive power generators in Europe with an expanding oil and gas production business. But Ørsted took a strategic decision to become a green energy company, because Ørsted was convinced it was the right approach strategically, financially and environmentally.


To drive its transformation, they invested heavily in renewable energy, particularly offshore wind; exited its fossil fuel businesses, and formulated its vision of creating a world that runs entirely on green energy. The business model transformation of the energy company Ørsted, which is majority owned by the Danish state, has been an interesting case study which may provide some inspiration and learnings that are  relevant for other energy companies around the world.

Read the report From Black to Green to read the full story about Ørsted business transformation


Ørsted is now one of the largest renewable energy companies by capacity globally and the leading offshore wind company. Since the beginning of the transformation, Ørsted has reduced its use of coal by 73% and more than halved its CO2 emissions. Ørsted is in the process of converting its coal fired power stations in Denmark to sustainable biomass, and by 2023, Ørsted will be completely coal-free and will have reduced CO2 emissions by 96%.  In 2017, Ørsted divested its upstream oil & gas business, completing its transformation to become a leading pure play renewables company.

Fact box:

Headline: Ørsted’s 7 key learnings on how to take on a leadership approach to transform your business:

  • Confront your reality in a changing landscape
  • Define a sustainable vision
  • Engage and align stakeholders
  • Mobilise behind your vision
  • Drive tangible action
  • Expect exponential change
  • Go the distance

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