Resource Efficiency

Ensuring sufficient water, food, energy, and other natural resources for a world population of nine billion in 2050, while maintaining the quality of the environment, preventing climate change and reducing further loss of biodiversity. This is a global challenge. The Netherlands is participating in international forums for the sustainable use of natural resources, both in the context of the EU and in that of the United Nations.

Demand for raw materials continues to increase with population growth, economic prosperity, and globalisation; it is expected to grow fourfold in the coming 40 years. Without international agreements, global commons are under serious threat. 

With increasing global pressure on natural resources, current patterns of resource use are not an option. Solutions such as recycling and more efficient use of resources only go part of the way in curbing the growing demand for raw materials. Changes will need to be made in production and consumption patterns, and technological breakthroughs are needed to enable this.

European Union

The Netherlands is contributing to specific initiatives in sustainable management of natural resources. Within the EU framework, the Netherlands is active in:

Flagship Resource Efficiency in the framework of EU2020 Strategy 

One of seven flagship initiatives, Resource Efficiency aims to deliver smart, sustainable and inclusive growth through the coordinated efforts of the EU and national authorities. Smarter use of scarce resources will support the shift towards a more effective and low-carbon economy and thus ensure Europe's economic and ecological security. It will open new opportunities, improve productivity, and create growth and jobs for Europe's citizens.

EU Raw Materials Initiative

EU Raw Materials Initiative is an endeavour by the EU and Member States to secure sufficient access to raw materials at competitive prices. This is becoming a major factor in EU competitiveness and thus crucial to the success of the Lisbon Partnership for growth and jobs. The Raw Materials Initiative aims to agree an integrated raw materials strategy which would include:

  • Access to raw materials on world markets at undistorted conditions
  • Sustainable supply of raw materials from European sources
  • Increased resource efficiency and promotion of recycling.

EU Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP)

The Netherlands participates in the EU Action Plan on Sustainable Production and Consumption and sustainable procurement policy. The Action Plan is a package of actions and proposals to improve the environmental performance of products and to stimulate demand for more sustainable goods and production technologies. The plan encourages EU industry to take up new opportunities and innovation to ensure continued leadership in environmental performance. The Action Plan also explores means for promoting sustainable production and consumption internationally, beyond the EU.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment develops policies for sustainability throughout the production chain by safeguarding the quality of soil, water and ecosystem services. Policy is developed on reducing and preventing waste streams by stimulating companies and organisations to make optimal reuse of waste through product innovation. As the national government is by far the largest procurer of goods and services in the Netherlands, the Ministry is pursuing a policy of sustainable procurement as an impetus for both the public and private sectors throughout the country.

European Union

The Netherlands is contributing to specific initiatives in sustainable management of natural resources. Within the EU framework, the Netherlands is active in:

  • International forums

    Through the Ministry, the Netherlands participates in various international forums and in particular: United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). This high-level forum for sustainable development in the United Nations system reviews progress in implementing Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. It provides policy guidance to follow up the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) at local, national, regional and international levels.

  • UNEP Panel for Natural Resources.

    The Netherlands has an influential position in the steering committee of the Panel. While still in a preliminary phase, the Panel for Natural Resources has the potential to contribute to the scientific basis for policy on sustainable use and management of natural resources.