Video speech by Vivianne Heijnen, Minister for the Environment - Circular Economy Trade Mission - UAE/Dubai
‘We used to call the circular economy the ‘missing link’ in the fight against climate change. But we now know for sure that it’s a significant piece of the puzzle that we can’t do without. Transitioning towards a circular economy can help us tackle several major challenges around the world. Smarter use of resources isn’t just good for the planet, it’s also good for businesses. That’s why the circular economy concept is starting to spread across the globe.’
Dat zei staatssecretaris Heijnen in haar videoboodschap ‘Circular economy, a major piece of the puzzle’ tijdens de Circular Economy Trade Mission - UAE/Dubai – op 24 March 2022.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It’s a great pleasure to join you today in discussing the crucial topic of the circular economy.
Unfortunately I can’t be with you in person, but it’s good to see you virtually and share some thoughts with you at the start of this important seminar.
The urgency of the circular economy is growing day by day, as the fight against climate change continues.
We all know that focusing our mitigation efforts solely on energy use solves only a part of the puzzle.
The other part of the puzzle can only be addressed by changing the way we use our resources.
We used to call the circular economy the ‘missing link’ in the fight against climate change.
But we now know for sure that it’s a significant piece of the puzzle that we can’t do without:
Transitioning towards a circular economy can help us tackle several major challenges around the world: climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.
Smarter use of resources isn’t just good for the planet, it’s also good for businesses.
That’s why the circular economy concept is starting to spread across the globe, including in the Gulf region.
The circular economy is not only about making existing systems more efficient, but – especially – about creating more value from waste.
Let me give you two examples from the Netherlands:
A Dutch recycling firm was able to produce such high-quality plastic from recycled PET bottles that last year a major soft drinks manufacturer was able to use bottles made from fully recycled PET for all its products.
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is approaching the circular economy from a different angle: it has started a joint operation with Signify to introduce Light as a Service as a new business model for its lighting.
What has the government done to make this possible?
We are giving direction by setting clear ambitions for our national Circular Economy programme: the target is to become one hundred per cent circular by 2050. By 2030 we should be halfway.
We offer market incentives, like deposit and return systems and extended producer responsibility. And we tax less sustainable waste treatment methods.
We practise what we preach through circular procurement. For example, a viaduct built on the basis of circular principles, a call for bids for circular workwear and uniforms, as well as circular catering.
And most importantly: we work together, in public-private partnerships, and in value chains across the world.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It’s clear that linear concepts are finite, whereas circular systems can stay in place forever.
Circular innovations are coming from start-ups all the way through to grown-ups and are being scaled up rapidly.
We’re redesigning products and business models
And we’re reshaping our relationship with products.
By reusing, repairing, and remanufacturing.
And of course by recycling materials if other options have been exhausted.
It is possible to grow an economy with less impact on the environment. With less impact on resources. And with lower costs.
That’s good news for shareholders.
But most of all, it shows that we’re taking responsibility!
We have a planet to pass on to future generations.
Over the past few days you’ve probably already had interesting discussions on how to accelerate climate neutrality and the circular economy in your region.
Today you’ll have more in-depth discussions about sectors and material flows. And about best practices in infrastructure and the built environment, as well as in the plastics and waste sectors.
I wish you all a productive day.