Circular Dutch economy by 2050

Global demand for raw materials for things like food, electrical goods and clothes is increasing sharply. The Dutch government is therefore working with other public authorities, knowledge institutions and environmental organisations, industry, trade unions, financial institutions and other civil-society organisations to find smarter and more efficient ways of using raw materials. The goal is for the Dutch economy to be completely circular by 2050. By 2030 the consumption of primary raw materials should have been reduced by half.

Obviously, these national goals are linked to international goals that the Netherlands is committed to, including the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate.

Goals for a circular economy

The government has set out three goals aimed at making the Dutch economy circular as quickly as possible:

  1. Ensure production processes use raw materials more efficiently, so that fewer are needed.
  2. When new raw materials are needed, use sustainably produced renewable (inexhaustible) and widely available raw materials, like biomass – raw material made of plants, trees and food waste. This will make the Netherlands less dependent on fossil fuel resources, and it is better for the environment.
  3. Develop new production methods and design new products to be circular.  

Timeline for the transition to a circular economy 2016 - 2050

International cooperation for a circular future

To create a circular economy in the Netherlands, changes are needed in Europe and worldwide. This is because raw material supply chains and waste flows are global. And not all waste products or materials end up in the Netherlands or even Europe. Also, many businesses operate internationally. That’s why the government works with other governments in bilateral, regional and in the United Nations, both inside and outside the European Union.

The government is also active in multistakeholder platforms, where government, business and international organisations drive shared goals towards a circular economy.One example is  the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE), with more than 40 members.  

Awareness raising about the circular economy remains an important aspect. That is why the Netherlands co-hosted the World Circular Economy Forum + Climate in April 2021. This global conference raised awareness about the circular economy in general, and the opportunities for the circular economy to help reach our climate goals in particular.