Make your business more sustainable: pay attention to these initiatives

In some areas, the commitment to sustainability is mandatory. For example, the use of disposable plastic has been banned since July 2021, and many office buildings must have energy label C from January 2023.

Goals from the climate agreement

These commitments are part of a larger package of measures with which the Netherlands must achieve the goals of the climate agreement. The main goals focus on CO2 emissions: by 2030, emissions should be 49% lower than in 1990. And by 2050, CO2 emissions should be even 95% lower compared to 1990.

Laws and regulations in the field of sustainability

Make office building and business premises more sustainable:

  • For all new buildings, permit applications must comply with the requirements of an almost energy-neutral building (NZEB) since 1 January 2021.
  • There is a new energy label for utility buildings. It is all buildings that have no residential purpose. This label indicates how energy efficient a building is and what opportunities there are to make it more sustainable.
  • By 2023, you must provide your office building of 100 m2 or more with energy label C. There are exceptions to this obligation. These are listed in the decision tree of the Dutch Business Agency (RVO).
  • Do you use more than 50,000 kWh of electricity or 25,000 m3 of natural gas? Then you need to take energy saving measures that pay for themselves within 5 years. Each industry has its own measures.

Sustainable use of fossil energy and raw materials:

  • The government will increase the Sustainable Energy and Climate Change (ODE) surcharge in 2021 and 2022. In practice, this means that your costs will increase if you use the same amount of fossil energy as the year before.
  • The government has for some time been promoting measures to drive non-polluting emissions. Due to a particle surcharge of 15% and an increase in excise duty, owners of diesel cars have paid more than other car owners since 1 January 2020.
  • Recycling of raw materials starts with correct waste sorting. New rules apply for this since March 2, 2021. Use the Waste Guide for companies to check which waste you need to sort.
  • Since 1 July 2021, you pay a deposit on small plastic bottles. This is in addition to the ban on the sale of disposable plastic. For disposable packaging such as the paper coffee cup and the plastic tray for chips, companies must charge extra money or offer a sustainable alternative from 1 July 2023. From January 2024, plastic packaging will not only be banned for consumption on the road, but also for consumption on the spot.
  • From 1 January 2023, there will be a mortgage on cans and money. From then on, stricter rules also apply to residual textile waste.

Impact of PFAS, nitrogen and CO2 emissions on the environment:

  • The government has yet to come up with final PFAS rules. This gives builders and dredgers clarity on how they may use or transport soils containing poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Because several important investigations are still ongoing, according to the government, it is not yet possible to establish a final framework. Until then, the temporary framework applies.
  • The nitrogen measures primarily affect agriculture, industry, construction and traffic.
  • Since 1 January 2021, a national CO2 tax has been in place for large industrial companies that also fall under the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). The tax also applies to waste incineration plants and companies that emit large amounts of nitrous oxide.
  • Shipowners must take into account stricter rules for new ships. Not only to reduce nitrogen emissions, but also to provide insight into energy consumption and purification of ballast water. In addition, inland vessels may no longer degas residual fumes from benzene and motor fuels while sailing. From now on, this must be done with a degassing installation in designated places. It is not yet known when the ban will take effect.

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