The strategy’s five building blocks:

  1. Become truly client-centric to bring the best of Ramboll
  2. Further develop and grow our regional strongholds
  3. Grow internationally through Spearhead services building on our platform
  4. Be a recognised leader for sustainability
  5. Secure the future by accelerating digitalisation

2020 was the fourth and initially last year of our ‘Winning Together’ strategy. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the strategy horizon was extended by one year to cater for market uncertainty during 2020 and to ensure that our leaders could focus on mastering the crisis.

Despite the pandemic, we made significant progress towards our strategic goals during 2020. Like many others in our industry, we were forced to make hard choices during the onset of the pandemic. We approached it ‘The Ramboll Way’ – carefully balancing short-term performance with long-term strategic goals. Most importantly, we secured our talent and continued to invest in prioritised strategic areas, while achieving a satisfactory annual financial performance in 2020.

Ramboll employees working together

Being truly client-centric

Staying close to our clients became more important than ever during these times of uncertainty. As the world turned to virtual ways of engaging and communicating, we adopted a strong focus on digitally enabled client dialogue. Throughout the year, we achieved consistently high and improving client satisfaction scores. We will continue our efforts to further embed a client-centric mindset deeper into all levels of the organisation during 2021 and beyond, and undoubtedly, we see working even closer with our clients as a cornerstone of the upcoming company strategy.

Stronghold performance

Among all the strategy building blocks, the Strongholds initiative, which describes our regional ambitions, has been most affected by the pandemic. In the UK, due to a combination of Brexit and COVID-19 we observed the most extreme market decline and took the necessary steps to stabilize the business. In the US, we finalised the integration of the 2019 acquisition, OBG, and were pleased to see that the revenue synergies had exceeded our targets. By constantly evaluating and balancing our portfolio, we achieved solid financial results across geographies, although due also to COVID-19 our financial results were somewhat short of the original ambition set back in 2016.

Vejlands Quarter by Henning Larsen

Vejlands Quarter by Henning Larsen. The new neighbourhood merges traditional Danish urban and rural typologies to create a hybrid neighborhood that balances city and nature. The Vejlands community will be entirely timber construction.

Strategic milestones

Turning Ramboll clearly into an Architecture, Engineering and Consultancy firm through the acquisition of Henning Larsen and establishing a new business unit: Architecture, Landscape and Urbanism.

Strengthening our support to our clients’ most pressing sustainability challenges by developing new sustainability strategies and offerings across all our Markets and launching a new spearhead for Strategic Sustainability Consulting.

Good traction on our client centricity and spearhead ambitions as demonstrated by the strong and above company-average performance in our Spearheads and Focus Account clients.

Strategic Sustainability Consulting

As organisations keep raising their game in relation to sustainability, many need a partner for change who can match their ambitions. This is why Ramboll is now launching the Spearhead: Strategic Sustainability Consulting to public and private organisations.

The services will cover strategies, assessments, baselining, reduction roadmaps, management systems and transformation support. All from a strategic sustainability point of view. The new unit is made up of selected teams from Ramboll’s Management Consulting and Environment & Health business and will comprise over 100 experts by mid-2021.

Progress in Sustainability

Over the years Ramboll has deliberately pursued a strategy and shaped our portfolio in a way that positions us well towards the green transition and the sustainability macro-trend which now takes off globally. In 2020 we further strengthened our portfolio and made further progress in unfolding the headlines of our strategy, with significant traction of providing more sustainability related services, such as minimising the carbon footprint of buildings and infrastructure assets through our design excellence and use of new materials. In the UK, we launched a Climate Action initiative in 2020 which is one of our most focused strategic initiatives to date. Externally, we were recognised as one of the world’s most influential companies for sustainable development exemplified by the fact that Ramboll is included in the Global SDG2000.

We are confident that sustainability will remain a core building block of the new company strategy.

Henning Larsen on track

We continued to strengthen our portfolio through acquisitions and organic development. The acquisitions of Henning Larsen and Web Structures both contributed to this. The Henning Larsen acquisition was also at the core of our decision to establish a new business unit, ‘Architecture, Landscape and Urbanism’, which was launched on the first day of 2021, completing a year of intense preparations and an all-time best financial performance of Henning Larsen in 2020. Moreover, we have already in the first year seen strong revenue synergies and collaboration between Henning Larsen and the rest of Ramboll. Building on this, the ambition with the new Business Unit is to create a world-leading brand in sustainable design solutions, and we believe that we can pioneer next practice and create lasting value for our clients and society at large. 

Spearheads continue to perform 

Bolstering our efforts to bring our knowledge and expertise on sustainability to our clients, we made significant investments into a new Spearhead service, ‘Strategic Sustainability Consulting’, which launched at the beginning of 2021. Spearheads are services that are offered globally and target a specific sector or client segment. In addition, in 2020 our Environment and Health business unit also successfully launched a new Spearhead, ‘Health Science’, combining deep scientific expertise and technical acumen with a broad global footprint to deliver sustainable solutions, which protect human health and the environment.

Our global Spearhead service concept proved to be extremely resilient in the face of adverse external conditions. Across the portfolio of Spearheads, only two were directly and negatively affected by the pandemic, namely, the Aviation and the Energy Field Development Spearheads. With these two exceptions, our Spearheads performed better than average and continued to strengthen cross-border collaboration and large joint project wins, bringing best-in-class competence to our clients across Geographies and Markets.

Advancing digital and innovation

On Digitalisation, we made a conscious choice of prioritising the integration of innovation products, such as tech-enabled consultancy, into our core business. This has led to several successful client cases and we are committed to further exploring innovation as a business enabler.

As part of our Digitalisation & Innovation strategy and due to prior investments in this area, we managed a successful, swift and seamless IT transition and handling of COVID-19 implications, enabling Ramboll to operate at full capacity under the new conditions.

Going forward, we will have a continued focus on the scaling of tech-enabled consultancy and going to markets with new advisory and business offerings. Automation will be central to our offerings and processes going forward and we are well prepared through our digital development centre in Guargon, India.

As we start the development of the new Ramboll strategy, we are cautiously optimistic about the post-pandemic global economic outlook and are excited about the opportunities that we can create for our clients leveraging our sustainability knowledge and innovation thinking.


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