Something wonderful is about to happen ... The world is coming to realize more and more that we can no longer continue to consume the earth as we have done for the last few centuries. We need to be more sustainable with the non-exhaustible resources we incorporate into products we use. 'Reduce and Reuse' or 'Recycle and Upcycle' are common cries in a seemingly changing economy: that of linear to circular. Things really must and can be done differently. With the launch of 'Northern Netherlands Deserves Circular', the North is speeding up the transition to a circular society. The official kickoff was during the week of the circular economy.
In the program Northern Netherlands deserves Circular, a broad start-up coalition of 20 northern and national parties will work together to be able to help northern SMEs become circular. Wonderful and successful initiatives already exist. But the Northern Netherlands suffers from a still too fragmented network of separate actors and autonomous support programs. The parties involved in the project
parties will ensure better coordination of their activities and roll them out across all three provinces. Through this strengthened ecosystem, they will help SMEs make their operations, products and services circular.
Broadening for an impactful approach
According to Friso Douwstra, provincial executive member of Fryslân, a lot is happening in the field of the circular economy in our region. 'We must move towards scaling up projects. This also requires knowing where you stand. That is why it is good that the project is also working on monitoring.'
Director Henk Brink of the province of Drenthe foresees that an important battle can be struck in housing construction when it comes to CO2 and raw material savings through circular construction. 'The housing corporations in Drenthe are working in a joint approach, Drenthe Woont Circulair, to build circular homes. We would like to broaden this approach to the whole of the Northern Netherlands to make even more of an impact.'
With the Clean North project, governments, companies and knowledge institutions are joining forces in the field of plastics. Not only recycling but also (even) higher-value steps towards more sustainable plastic use. Gedeputeerde IJzebrand Rijzebol of the province of Groningen is convinced that the Northern Netherlands deserves Circular can help accelerate this process.
'Circular economy is needed to reduce the overconsumption of raw materials,' emphasizes Prof. Jacqueline Cramer, professor of sustainable innovation at Utrecht University and coordinator of a variety of circular initiatives, such as Concrete Agreement, Steel Building Agreement and Circular Textiles. She also chairs the Transition Council 'North Netherlands deserves Circular'. 'The launched, broad
coalition of parties is an important step to stimulate the circular economy in the Northern Netherlands.'
On February 10, the deputies presented a check for 1.5 million euros on behalf of the provinces and SNN to Dina Boonstra, director of NOM and chair of the project's Advisory Board. Dina Boonstra: "With this money we will explore new circular value chains and define Living Labs, among other things. These experiments will focus on the biggest challenges within the Transition Agendas Construction, Plastics and Manufacturing.'
The partners of "Northern Netherlands Deserves Circular":
Association Circular Friesland | GroBusiness | Ynbusiness | I Am Drenthe Entrepreneur | Biocooperative Northern Netherlands | MadeCircularBy... | NHL Stenden Hogeschool | Noordelijk Innovatielab Circulaire Economie (NICE) | Chemport Europe | NOM | Rijksuniversiteit Groningen | Hanzehogeschool Groningen | TCNN | VNO-NCW Noord
Rabobank | Versnellingshuis | CIRCO | KIA CE | VNO NCW Midden | Municipality of Leeuwarden | Municipality of Groningen | Municipality of Emmen | Municipality of Assen
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Alex Berhitu, ecosystem developer NOM, can imagine that readers of the article also want to contribute. 'There are probably many readers who think: hey but we also support entrepreneurs in this transition and also belong in that ecosystem. They can report to me. We will then determine together where and how we can strengthen your activities in the ecosystem. There will also be entrepreneurs who want to make their products and services circular. They too can report to me. If you still need to develop your plans, we will refer you to the right organization that can help you with that. If you have concrete ambitions and need help realizing your plans, we will sit down together and determine how we can support you. This can be in the form of contacts to finding funding. And the rest of the readers? You too have a role to play. In the circular economy, sustainable production and sustainable consumption go hand in hand. Think carefully about the sustainability of your next purchase. Let's all work together for a circular society.'
The collaboration in the North Netherlands Earns Circular program is made possible in part with financial support from the three northern provinces, North Netherlands Cooperation Association and the European Union.