Dutch companies push for sustainability in Covid-19 recovery, climate agreements
24-06-2020 13:19:00 | Editor: Bob Koigi | hits: 2749 | Tags:

Dutch businesses under a coalition have committed to champion sustainability as a key driver in the COVID-19 recovery plans at both national and European Union level.

In the recent past, Dutch businesses and governments have formed partnerships to innovate quickly and jointly fight the COVID-19 pandemic including ramping up production of essential medical supplies within the country and finding new ways to distribute them.

These actions have inspired hope for addressing future challenges where public-private partner-ships are key.

Dutch enterprises have also reiterated their commitment to continue embedding sustainability as a leading principle in their business models further adding that they will continue reporting their performance annually in an integrated and transparent way while ensuring that their contribution to act against climate change would be grounded in science-based ambitions and roadmaps.

A focus on social responsibility and climate action through the lens of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will reinforce economies and also offers a north star for the global society. Building supply chains with inclusiveness and sustainability embedded will help to create stable and more resilient economies on both sides the coalition further said.

Wiebe Draijer, chairman, Managing Board, Rabobank: “As the leading global food and agriculture bank, Rabobank recognizes its responsibility to the Paris climate agreement, which is why we have fully adopted the SDGs. As such, this call for action by the DSGC has our full support.

The coalition has also made its plea to the Dutch government to focus on below recommendations:

Endorse the EU Green Deal as one of the cornerstones of the EU Recovery Plan

The EU Green Deal combined with a strong strategy for investments, global trade and diplomacy has the potential to accelerate sustainability transitions in global value chains. Subsequently, this will increase EU GDP, improve health standards and create millions of decent jobs.

Taking into account the global level playing field, the coalition support the ambitions of the EU to become climate neutral by 2050 at the latest. It therefore called upon the Dutch government to work together with all EU heads of state and government to endorse the central position of the EU Green Deal within the EU Recovery Plan.

Build the COVID-19 recovery plan around an investment schedule that firmly puts the Dutch economy on the path of realizing the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Dutch companies are front-runners in the field of sustainability. By investing in selected sustainability competencies, innovations, and knowledge, the coalition says it can build competitive advantages and called for driving innovation and further developing the Dutch solutions for global challenges.

Where short-term economic support provided by governments and financial institutions to companies impacted by the pandemic has been essential, investments in sustainable solutions in the medium-term are necessary for the economy’s long-term earnings model.

The coalition pushed for using the EU Recovery Funds for substantial investments in the fields of energy transition infrastructure, circular economy models, capability development, cleaner mobility solutions (including clean fuels), nature-based solutions, ecosystem restoration and schemes to drive low carbon product demand.

Investments following from the EU Green Deal (e.g. the EU Sustainable Europe Investment Plan and Just Transition Fund), supported by the EU Sustainable Finance Strategy amongst other actions plans, have the potential to bring about a multiplier effect in mobilizing the required public and private capital.

Continue to provide long-term certainty regarding the Dutch climate agreement and measurable commitments

The executing power of businesses can only be effective within clear policy frameworks from governments. The coalition says that the country must ensure that the Dutch climate agreement stands firm and its execution is accelerated using the Green Recovery funds wisely while aligning with the EU targets for 2030 and 2050.

When done right, these clear objectives and roadmaps, the coalition said, provide companies with the confidence to invest in green, net zero-emission solutions for the future needs.

The coalition further called for an independent Dutch study on how Dutch businesses can “Make markets fit for SDG purpose”. This study should focus on how governmental instruments could strengthen market conditions for the business sector, enabling the sector to maximize its contribution to the SDG agenda.