News feature | 08-07-2022 | 15:00
The Netherlands wants to be an international leader in making the industry more sustainable and thus strengthening our economy. The government also wants the Dutch technological and traditional (manufacturing) industry to continue to play a significant role in crucial global production chains, such as microchips. To achieve this, the government commits itself to an active and strategic business policy by investing in innovation and research and through tailor-made agreements.
This is what Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Adriaansen (EZK) writes in the industry letter and the letter about tailor-made agreements that were sent to the House of Representatives. In addition to targeted investments in innovation and research, the government encourages more people to digitize production processes and European cooperation. For example, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the European Commission, together with regional public-private partnerships, made an additional € 30 million available at the end of last month to five Dutch European Digital Innovation Focal Points (EDIHs). In this, the Netherlands works on the application of innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing and autonomous systems in processes and products.
Minister Adriaansen: “In the Netherlands, we have everything in-house for a strong and sustainable industry that is a leader. It is also badly needed. We do not want to be too dependent on other countries, for example when it comes to the production of medicines, microchips and sustainable energy. All too often, the industry is in a negative corner, but industry is a crucial part of the solution. We are experts in innovation, and by investing in innovative sustainability technology, we can become the best while tackling climate change. “
A strong industry is more important than ever. Almost everything we use every day comes from industry: from clothes to food, household appliances, cleaning products and from medicines to paints. The industry directly and indirectly provides more than one million jobs in the Netherlands and is extremely important to our economy. The sustainability challenge offers great opportunities and challenges for the industry.
In order to achieve the sustainability goals in 2030, the industry must make major decisions in the coming period about expensive investments for sustainability. New and improved production facilities must be built, existing production reorganized and fossil production facilities phased out. On the other hand, the demand for climate-friendly and circular goods, services, machinery, energy and infrastructure will only increase in the future. By becoming more sustainable than others and by realizing the necessary solutions, the Netherlands can continue to excel through innovation and benefit from worldwide export and earnings opportunities.
With the tailor-made approach, the 20 largest industrial emitters can take an extra step to shape new sustainable technologies that lead to less CO2 emissions. It challenges companies to come up with their own ambitious plans to reduce CO2 emissions in their own chimney and elsewhere in the chain and improve their impact on the environment. The government wants to remove uncertainties, obstacles and delaying factors around sustainability as much as possible through tailor-made solutions. Companies must have a vision on their way to climate neutrality and circularity so that they can continue to develop their activities in the Netherlands now and in the future. In addition, agreements can be entered into on, among other things, energy and gas savings, training of technical staff, nitrogen emissions and matching of supply and demand for electricity.
Industrial policy is not non-binding. Any investment by the government must also be matched by an effort on the part of the industry to invest and make it more sustainable. The government will also encourage Dutch industry to become more sustainable by formulating rules for the circular use of raw materials and, as previously announced, by pricing CO2 emissions.
Maintain strategic position
In addition to the sustainability challenges, global tensions are rising. We want to be less dependent on other countries. When only one or two parties possess all important technology or raw materials, this makes the Netherlands undesirably vulnerable. For important parts of our industry, we must therefore also have an indispensable piece in the puzzle in our hands. Think, for example, of the microchip industry and new technologies such as quantum computers, hydrogen technology and photonics. Cooperation with other European countries is crucial in this regard. For example, in the large-scale European project (IPCEI) for a powerful value chain in the production, use, storage and transport of hydrogen, as a replacement for fossil energy. The government is also coming up with a strategy for critical raw materials.
The government is using the € 20 billion national growth fund to stimulate technological innovation in industry and to train and retrain talents. The National Growth Fund invests in projects within knowledge development and research, development and innovation. € 3 billion is available for the customized agreements.