Cabinet invests in strategic position of industry and sustainability | news item

News item | 08-07-2022 | 15:00

The Netherlands wants to be an international leader in making industry more sustainable and thereby strengthen 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. In order to achieve this, the government is committed to an active and strategic industrial policy by investing in innovation and research and through tailor-made agreements.

This is what Minister Adriaansens of Economic Affairs and Climate (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 is encouraging more in the digitization of production processes and European cooperation. For example, at the end of last month the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the European Commission, together with regional public-private partnerships, already made an extra 30 million euros available for five Dutch European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH). In this, the Netherlands is working on the application of innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing and autonomous systems in processes and products.

Minister Adriaansens: “In the Netherlands we have everything in-house for a strong and sustainable industry that is leading. That 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. Too often the industry is in a negative corner, but industry is a crucial part of the solution. We are experts at innovation and by investing in innovative technology in the field of sustainability we can become the best, while tackling climate change at the same time.”

A strong industry is more important than ever. Almost everything we use every day comes from industry: from clothing to foodstuffs, household appliances, detergents and from medicines to paint. Industry directly and indirectly provides more than a million jobs in the Netherlands and is extremely important for our economy. The sustainability challenge presents major opportunities and challenges for industry.

Innovative sustainability

In order to achieve the sustainability goals in 2030, industry will have to make major decisions in the coming period about costly investments for sustainability. New and improved production facilities must be built, existing production converted and fossil production facilities phased out. On the other hand, the demand for climate-friendly and circular goods, services, machines, 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 distinguish itself through innovation and take advantage of worldwide export opportunities and earning opportunities.

customization

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. This challenges companies to come up with their own ambitious plans to reduce CO2 emissions in their own chimney and elsewhere in the chain, and to improve their impact on the environment. The government wants to remove the uncertainties, obstacles and delaying factors surrounding sustainability as much as possible through tailor-made solutions. Companies must have a vision on their path 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 made about, among other things, energy and gas savings, training of technical personnel, nitrogen emissions and matching the supply and demand of electricity.

Industrial policy is not without obligation. Every investment by the government must also be matched by an effort by 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 announced earlier, by pricing CO2 emissions.

Maintain strategic position

In addition to the sustainability challenges, global tensions are increasing. We want to be less dependent on other countries. When only one or two parties control 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 of the puzzle in our hands. Think, for example, of the microchip industry and emerging technologies such as quantum computing, 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 generation, 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.

Targeted investing

The government uses the National Growth Fund of 20 billion euros to stimulate technological innovation within the industry and to train and retrain talent. The National Growth Fund invests in projects in the field of knowledge development and research, development and innovation. 3 billion euros is available for the tailor-made agreements.

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