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Trends and drivers

We engineer change in everything we do with a higher purpose in mind, to accelerate the transition to a sustainable society.

We see four main drivers; decarbonisation, circularity, electrification and digitalisation, that drives this transition across our business sectors

All sectors and industries that we operate in are greatly influenced by these drivers and we are well positioned to be a leading partner in the current sustainability transition. You can read about our work within these areas further down the page.

Urbanisation and demographic shifts

Today, more than half of the world’s population live in urban areas, a share that is expected to increase to nearly 70 percent by 2050. At the same time, cities represent 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Urbanisation and demographic shifts lead to new challenges in urban areas and is creating further demand for sustainable solutions.


Digitalisation is one of the most powerful and universal forces we have at our disposal for driving the transformation towards a sustainable society. Digital technologies are key prerequisites for decarbonisation, smart manufacturing, connected vehicles, intelligent and energy efficient buildings and for smart mobility.

Climate change and loss of biodiversity

In recent decades, the focus has been on climate change and the measures which are needed to ensure that the rise in the global average temperature does not exceed 1.5 ºC compared to pre-industrial levels. In the future, challenges arising from extreme weather events, reduced groundwater levels and biodiversity loss will thus become increasingly crucial to deal with.

Shifting globalisation

Our world is more dynamic, complex and volatile than before. In recent years we have seen increasing threats to world security and stability, protectionist trade policies, trade wars and the Covid-19 pandemic severely disrupting supply chains, forcing companies to examine new models and strategies in order to mitigate risk. The reversing of global trade is the new reality where regionalisation will be increasingly important.


The current transition towards a more sustainable society is however apparent and several sustainability initiatives in the coming decade will drive investments to support industries to transition to a clean and circular economy and increase the share of renewable energy production. AFRY is well positioned to take the lead in this transition.

Drivers that accelerate the transition across business sectors

At AFRY we see four main drivers; decarbonisation, circularity, electrification and digitalisation, that accelerate the transition across our business sectors. Transformational actions are necessary throughout all industries to achieve a global net-zero scenario and a more sustainable society.


Decarbonisation refers to the process of decreasing carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere, which is crucial in meeting global climate goals and can be accomplished through the replacement of fossil fuels, energy efficiency, and carbon capture and storage. One example of this is the use of green hydrogen, which is essential to decarbonising heavy industry, mobility and the heat sector, filling in the gaps where other renewable energies are difficult to implement.


Electrification refers to the process of replacing fossil fuel powered technologies with electric alternatives, promoting the use of clean energy sources and advancing the transition towards a sustainable energy system. One example of this is the development of hybrid and electric vehicles. In 2021, electric vehicles contributed to the net reduction of 40 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide.


Circularity is a production and consumption system that relies on the principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle, which is becoming increasingly critical as we confront global resource scarcity and the need to minimise waste and environmental degradation. For example, circularity is key to advancing the environmental benefits of batteries used in the utility and transport sector. Currently in Europe, 50 percent of a battery’s mass must be recycled, with aims to increase this to 70 percent by 2030


Digital technologies such as automation, digital twins, and artificial intelligence can enable cost reduction, optimise value chains, and automate processes, resulting in significant benefits for the transition to sustainability. For example, in the wind energy industry, digital applications play a significant role in the development, monitoring and maintenance of wind turbines. With the help of digitalisation, Europe is set to increase offshore wind capacity by 7 percent annually to reach 190 GW in 2050.

Two AFRY employees photographed in urban environments

Annual and Sustainability Report 2022

We accelerate the transition towards a sustainable society

Making Future