Blog: Designed to last
Nederland loopt achter als het aankomt op duurzaamheid. De opwekking van duurzame energie loopt flink achter op onze oosterburen en ook de logistieke sector presteert momenteel minder dan onze oosterburen volgens de World Logistics Performance Index (LPI). Onze liberaliseringspolitiek en het jarenlang wegzetten van duurzaamheid als ‘linkse hobby’ hebben de Nederlandse slagkracht als het aankomt op (duurzame) innovatie geen goed gedaan. Het Designed to Last-rapport geeft een advies in de richting van doelstellingen en subsidiëring. Is dit de juiste weg, en zo ja, is het genoeg?
Vorige week claimde de topambtenaar die verantwoordelijk was voor de liberalisering van de energiemarkt in de Volkskrant dat de overheid sterk regulerend op moet treden om de energiebedrijven te dwingen tot vergroening. Een vrije markt leidt namelijk niet noodzakelijk tot innovatie, aangezien grote bedrijven belang hebben bij een status quo. Hetzelfde geldt voor de logistieke sector: zonder het opleggen van ambitieuze doelstellingen zal de logistieke sector weinig innovatief blijven. Echter, willen we Nederland en Europa aan de wereldtop houden, en daarnaast zorgen voor een gezond leefklimaat voor iedereen, dan is innovatie cruciaal.
Het Designed To Last-rapport geeft de Nederlandse overheid een advies in de juiste richting. Om tot een circulaire economie te komen adviseert het rapport een groot scala aan doelstellingen op landelijk, provinciaal en lokaal niveau. Zo zullen provincies via het publiekrecht clustervorming van bedrijven kunnen stimuleren en afdwingen en kunnen gemeentes voorwaarden stellen aan bedrijven met betrekking tot energiegebruik en afvalverwerking. Op nationaal niveau wordt een belastingstelsel geadviseerd op basis van het ‘de vervuiler betaald’-principe.
Ook op het gebied van stadslogistiek is regulering het toverwoord. Daar waar alleen onze (vieze) hoofdstad nog denkt het zonder milieuzone te kunnen, stappen veel steden hier wel op over. Echter, het Designed To Last-rapport adviseert overheden om afspraken te maken over uitstoot en vervoersbewegingen, maar durft jammer genoeg geen stelling te nemen voor een milieuzone. Door het stellen van duidelijke regels wordt er een level playing field gecreëerd dat Nederland innovatiever dan onze buurlanden zal maken. Een milieuzone geeft vervoerders en verladers een duidelijk streven.
Het rapport adviseert ook een betere samenwerking tussen overheid en bedrijfsleven. Overheden dienen wel uit te kijken voor een (bekende) valkuil: samenwerken betekent niet dat ambities naar beneden bijgesteld mogen worden! Samenwerken betekent dat er ruimte wordt gelaten aan bedrijven om zelf met innovatieve en passende oplossingen te komen.
Regulering is echter niet de enige stap de gezet moet worden. Ook subsidies om risico’s af te dekken zijn belangrijk. Keynes zei ooit: “In the long run we are all dead” – niets is echter minder waar voor Nederland en de Nederlanders. Langetermijnplanning is cruciaal, aan de overheid de taak bedrijven te motiveren aan deze planning mee te werken. Marktpartijen willen investeringen binnen vijf jaar terugverdiend zien: vijf jaar later kan de markt namelijk verdwenen zijn. Dit is waar de overheid een taak heeft. Bij duurzame investeringen met een lange terugverdientijd zijn subsidies ter afdekking van de risico’s noodzakelijk.
Ik ben persoonlijk erg tevreden met het Designed To Last-rapport. Echter, een goed advies betekent niet dat we er al zijn. Het bedrijfsleven mag aan het stuur staan van nieuwe ontwikkelingen, echter de ambitie dienen we vanuit de overheid te reguleren. Anders kunnen we dit rapport over 20 jaar weer uit de kast halen omdat er nog steeds niets gebeurd is. Landelijke, provinciale en lokale werkgroepen zullen consistent met dit rapport aan de slag moeten gaan en komen tot concrete uitwerkingen van de adviezen. Uiteraard zo snel mogelijk. Immers, als je een voorloper wil zijn kun je maar beter als eerste starten – alleen jammer dat Duitsland en Denemarken ondertussen al een vage stip aan de horizon zijn.
Dutch Logistics 2040: designed to last symposium: main findings for English speakers
Currently the social media team for this symposium is busy getting ready for before the speakers of the symposium will arrive! I will try to respond to any English questions or remarks that arrise during the day. The first reponse I got relates to which sector will take the lead in supporting a more ciricular economy waste companies or logistic services providers.
The opening of the symposium was done by Jeroen Smits (journalism professor of Groningen University), he states that it is vital that understanding of the need and use of circular economy is needed in order for it to develop on a large scale. This statement was supported by several of the speakers, which I will later elaborate on more. Several companies have shown that products can already be developed which more extensively use the concept of the circular economy (by reuse of materials and reduction of needed material in the first place). However, further support is needed by: private, business consumers and governmental organizations. One of the key questions professor Smit asked in the beginning was to which extent consumers are already fully supporting the concept of a circular economy in the way they purchase consumer goods.
Several members from the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure stated in a reaction that most consumers are already supporting more sustainable products and are willing to even more so in the near future. The question remains however if this can actually be related to an increase in purchasing of more sustainable products or is related to observed change in opinion that supports a more circular economy. Is the throw away mentality of general consumers actually changing? In order to further support the circular economy there needs to be agenda which relates to sustainable growth by collaboration between companies within and different supply chains. According to professor Smits a complete change of the use and logistics and products is needed to fully support a circular economy. To which extent this holds for the most important economic sectors within the Netherlands is however questionable, as not all sectors can currently provide a valuable business case that involves use of a more curricular economy related to their products and the economic value of this products for reuse.
After the opening by professor Smit, the chair of council for Environment and Infrastructure (Henry Meijdam) gave a short presentation on the aim of the advice of the report that was released at the end of the event, the English version will be released later this week on the website of rli.nl. Meijdam stated that the advice is aimed at enriching the political process regarding the circular economy and also sharing knowledge on the subject within the whole society.
Directly followed by the presentation of Meijdam, Marike van Lier Lels (commission chair of the council) afterwards followed with an interactive presentation that revealed the most important points of the advices given by the council within the report. By both using a presentation and a video which showed the relation between the circular economy and logistics related to three specific important sectors in the Netherlands; agri-food, high tech sector and the chemical sector. The main message was that it can be expected to move from an economy of designed to dump to design to last. The extent to which the curricular economy is applied, could result in: an increase of leasing of products (high tech), increased use of service logistics (for services and return logistics) and more localized/regional production compared to the current uses.
The main points of advice from the report that was presented in order to support a transition to a more circular economy were:
- Further support of clustering companies that can use each other flows of goods/ energy that would individually be lost or result in production of waste.
- Innovative tendering of city logistics should be supported, which ensures that the market comes up with concepts that can support a more sustainable transport form both society and business perspective. These should not use further focus on the enforcement of more restrictions of city logistics transport, but more on supporting concepts that achieve both economic and sustainable goals at the same time.
- Devise a program with the Rotterdam port being the hub for circular economy for Europe
Of all points above, point three got the most responses from both the attending audience and social media responses on why a choice was made in the advice related to the sole use of the Port of Rotterdam. Other ports in the Netherlands or in other parts of Europe could also be more suitable for realizing and maintaining a hub for a more circular economy. Later on Marike van Lier Lels stated that other ports could, of course, also be suitable for being a European hub for a circular economy as whole or for specific sectors. The possible / favorable point for a circular hub within Europe is an interesting point when more near sourcing is applied, given the extent of goods that are transported via the Netherlands for markets that require an extensive distance to be traveled to and from the Netherlands. This could mean that Rotterdam, or any other port within the Netherlands, might not be located as ideally for being the European hub for a circular economy activity as has been presented.
After the presentation of Marike van Lier Lels, five presentations of different organizations, which are involved in using sustainability and logistics form a business perceptive, were given. Below the most important remarks of these five presentations are presented individually.
Mark Haverlach (Interface)
Interface is a carpet tile manufacture, which has been working for a long time to change its traditional linear business process of producing carpets without thinking of possible re-use/ recovery of material towards a business where extension of life time and re-use of carpet material is fully integrated into the business model. It has, however, set a goal to reduce the environmental impact of carpet produced products to a minimum. For that purpose it has started to re-use part of recovered end of life carpet products and also extend the lifetime of its products. Haverlach stated that it is vital that as has been mentioned before not only solutions are offered by companies: also consumers and competing companies should fully support the needed use and collaboration in order come up with cost effective solutions for re-use and recovery of materials. Transparency of information on the location of used goods is vital for a company like Interface to be able to effectively recover as much as possible materials that can be used in production of new carpet tiles again. Haverlach stated that collaboration between competitors is often possible as companies can differentiate on products and services instead of on logistics. This might be the case for the carpet industry but it is difficult to see if transport collaboration for recovery of used materials in other industries could not conflict with core competitive advantages as seen used by different supply chains.
Nico Anten (Connekt)
Connekt is an independent platform that used to connect companies in order to increase transport sustainability within the Netherlands. Nico Anten also supported the need for different shippers of goods to collaborate on transport in order to improve transport sustainability. Given the notion that individual shippers do not have the means or flows of goods to realize the same level of improvement that can be reached by using transport collaboration between different companies. The Lean & Green project is a clear example in which several companies have achieved reduction in transport emissions by applying collaboration. Companies within this project want to further support collaboration concepts in order to realize even more sustainable transport. A change in behavior within the logistic sector is needed to realize the amount of change needed , was stated as being important current challenge to further support collaboration. This point was mentioned later again in another presentation, related to the fact that the logistics sector in general has a very short term focus this could limit the support for collaboration as that is often more long term. Furthermore it was said that regulations regarding shared use of transport and arranging such transport, should be changed by governmental organizations in order to make more transport collaboration possible. Suggestions were later made based on the discussion that later followed on how a sustainability should be element should be included in use of competition law in order to reduce the cases in which regulations limit the potential of transport collaboration that could realize more sustainable transport. The point of competition law related more sustainable is ofcourse not as easy as presented here but it could lead to development of more adaptive policies that try to find a difference balance in maintain competition and realizing more efficient transport by letting direct competitors work together.
Peter van Laarhoven (Schiphol Group/ strategic platform for logistics)
In his presentation Peter van Laarhoven showed the importance of the logistic sector within the current economy in the Netherlands. He highlighted how the strategic platform for logistics is trying to make the sector within the Netherlands more competitive. The focus of the current logistics sectors is the further improve the current international competiveness by ensuring that more volumes of goods are transported via the major hubs within the Netherlands. When these hubs obtain sufficient levels and also if these hubs operate effectively, effective bundling of goods can occur in order to support more sustainable and efficient transport of goods. The current use the most important transport systems within for Europe for transport of goods can support the focus on growing transport hubs to become more competitive. However, if a circular economy is fully developed within Europe and other parts of the worlds, goods flows are likely to be much more regional or local. This could very well mean that competiveness cannot be realized by focusing on obtaining more volume of goods. Therefore another focus might be needed in the long term to maintain a competitive logistic sector. The focus on more collaboration and the use of information to improve the competiveness of logistics within the current logistics platform, can support a more effective use curricular economy with logistics. One of the key challenges that currently exists was also acknowledge by mister van Laarhoven that focuses on short term whereas the developments regarding the circular economy are seen as a long term development. To which extent the circular economy business concepts can be realized in all major economic sectors within was questioned by mister van Laarhoven. He argued that not not all products and sectors are suitable in the same extent to re-use and retrieve products in economic valuable way.
Frank van Ooijen (FrieslandCampina)
FrieslandCampania is one the world’s largest diary produce companies in the world. Its shareholders are the farmers of the dairy products. The company has included sustainability as key strategic element within its business processes from production of dairy products at the farms all the way to delivery of its products to its final customer. It believes that current and further expected markets conditions demand the use of sustainability in order to stay competitive. In order to realize support for this from both its farmers and customers. The company is actively showing the benefits from a business perspective to include and support sustainability within the complete supply chain. Given the expected growth of world population and increased scarcity of minerals the company is continuously looking for ways to reduce waste, increase its efficiency and re-use materials (which include vital minerals). One interesting example that was given by mister van Ooijen relates to re-use of fertilizer in order to produce new usable fertilizer and also produce bio-gas that can be used for transport. The perspective from the company is that dairy products can also contribute to sustainable diet, when diets food resources are related to the health aspect and the resources needed to produce the diets ingredients.
Femke Weijtens (DSM)
DSM has changed from a company focused on the use of fossil fuel based produced products. To a company that uses mostly non fossil fuel based production materials for is current production.DSM most important production products are divided in three area; health, nutrition and materials products. It believes that, given the major challenges the world is currently facing, focusing on sustainability is not only vital, but should be increased even more in order to stay competitive and realize the products that are financial attractive for its customers. Given the expected increase in world population and the scarcity of natural resources, more and/or higher quality production needs to be realized with less resources. DSM believes that the use of more sustainable resources and production methods can both realize higher quality products with less use of resources. In the presentation of Femke Weijtens several example where given of how more sustainability can be achieved by use of different materials and use of materials that are otherwise not used (waste). The use of more sustainable materials for construction of bridges shows that a stronger, lighter and more cost effective design of bridges is possible compared to traditional steel use. The use of corn waste material that would not be normally used to produce biofuels is another example given that shows how waste can be turned into useful products. DSM is clearly active in all of its key production sectors to achieve as much sustainability as possible. Current policies of the Dutch government, however, limit the full potential that can be achieved regarding the use of a more circular economy. Subsidies for starting new innovative projects, financial risk guarantees and taxation measures that included the extent of re-use of materials should be more supported by the government in order to further facilitate the transition to a more circular economy. Even in the cases where DSM can produce more sustainable products that preform similar or better than traditional products, conservative markets often limit the use and support for change in products. Often a sense of urgency related to the support and use of more sustainable products is missing, which results in less use of sustainable products. More support and understanding is needed in key sectors in order to increase the demand of sustainable products.
After the presentation of DSM, Henry Meijdam (chairman of council) briefly commented on the presentations given during the symposium. He stated that although there are different ideas on how and when the circular will develop, there is general agreement that relevance for most sectors to support a more circular economy will develop on the long term due to scarcity of important resources and growth of the world population. In order to maintain the current level of wealth we currently enjoy in the world, a different way of production and use of goods will be needed on the long term. What is needed in the coming time is that more emphasis is placed on actual implementation of measures that would realize a more circular economy.
Siebe Riedstra accepted the report written by the council, on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure & Environment, as the final part of the symposium. He concluded that the subject of the circular economy is currently very relevant and important. As the use and control of important resources around the world also has a major relation with the development of a more circular economy. Therefore resource availability and security should not be seen only on a national level but has to be related to a global level. Research conducted by the ministry shows that a fully developed circular economy within the Netherlands could result in the creation of more than 45000 jobs. What is needed however is a change in behavior of key stakeholders on relation between economic development and sustainability in order to facilitate the transition to a more circular economy. It also requires a different use and role of the ministry as it should further support and facilitate measures that enable companies to operate in a more sustainable way that is also economically viable.
The most important conclusions can be derived from symposium based on the presentation and feedback form social media are:
- Collaboration between competing companies is needed to further improve sustainability both on the aspects of logistics and re-use of resources, as for large production companies often lack the scale and volume to increase sustainability individually in all cases
- Transport collaboration is needed both to make transport systems more sustainable and also competitive
- Currently there are many sustainable production concepts available that can be financially viable. However, these do not always result in actual realized product demand due to:
- the difficulty of adaption of current systems towards a more sustainable system
- conservative standpoints in important industries regarding the need to support sustainable production
- short term focus of companies
- limited sense of urgency regarding the need for resource recovery/re-use
- limitations imposed by current government regulations regarding effective realization of sustainable transport / production
- Knowledge and acceptance of the use of more sustainable produced products is still limited in the current economy, which limits the demand for more sustainable products and also the development of more sustainable products in important sectors even.
Dat onze economie alleen maar kan functioneren door die logistieke sector, daar ben ik inmiddels van overtuigd. Dat maakte het meteen ook een prachtig adviesonderwerp voor een integrale adviesraad. Immers logistiek kan en moet een verbindend element zijn tussen sectoren. Het werd daarmee een ongelofelijk interessant project. Ondanks de crisis, zijn er bedrijven die geloven in de toekomst, zij zijn volop bezig om te verduurzamen. De raad sprak met bedrijven, kennisinstellingen, ngo’s en overheden. We hielden ronde tafels en zetten onderzoeken uit. Mensen kwamen met ideeën en innovatieve oplossingen voor de toekomst. Wij werden enthousiast, en zagen volop kansen voor de logistiek in de circulaire economie. Er zijn bedrijven die de circulaire economie omarmen en duurzaam en concurrerend zijn. Op het symposium Nederlandse logistiek 2040: designed to last, zal Marike van Lier Lels, de voorzitter van de raadscommissie, het advies, in een notendop, aan u presenteren. Daarna zal het bedrijfsleven u meenemen in hun verhalen over logistiek en de circulaire economie.
Waar ik energie van kreeg, waren de gesprekken met jongeren. Zij zijn het, die straks onze toekomst gaan vormgeven. Zij hebben er zin in, en zien die circulaire economie wel zitten. Ook het belang van de logistiek hierin, daar zijn ze van overtuigd. Zonder hen kan dit symposium daarom ook niet plaatsvinden. Wij hebben er voor gekozen om hen tijdens het symposium een prominente plek te geven:, als social reporter team dat de middag verslaat, als vragenstellers op het podium en als twitteraars in de zaal. Sociale media, ik ben ervan overtuigd, je kunt er niet omheen. In een circulaire economie, dé manier om informatie te recyclen en over de wereld te verspreiden. Ook als u niet aanwezig kunt zijn; het advies en de commentaren zijn te volgen, op het moment zelf, maar ook na afloop. Ik hoop dat u net zo enthousiast wordt als ik over logistiek en de circulaire economie. U kunt ook deelnemen door mee te twitteren met #designed2last