Toespraak van staatssecretaris Van Veldhoven bij bijeenkomst over circulaire economie

Toespraak van staatssecretaris  Van Veldhoven (IenW) op 11 december 2018 bij de opening van een bijeenkomst over circulaire economie, georganiseerd door Nederland. De bijeenkomst vindt plaats tijdens de mondiale klimaattop in Katowice in Polen.

De toespraak is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

Welcome! It’s good to see you all here today. It’s encouraging to see global interest in the circular economy growing. That’s crucial to reaching our climate goals.


The IPCC-report is clear: we need more ambition. Our point is: it’s not only more ambition that we need. We need a shift in emphasis.

Until now, climate talks and actions have focused on sustainable energy and energy saving. Quite rightly. And understandably. But there’s 1 aspect that we tend to overlook. And that’s a smarter and more efficient use of raw materials.

A growing body of research confirms that more efficient use of raw materials can reduce industrial carbon emissions by some 60 per cent worldwide. What’s more, we desperately need scarce raw materials for a successful energy transition. Like cobalt, gallium and platinum for our batteries, wind turbines and solar panels.

If you think of the Paris climate goals as a jigsaw puzzle, the circular economy is one of the missing pieces. A better resource management deserves to be in the international spotlight, in the main board rooms of our companies and in the hearts of our policy makers. That’s why we’re here!

There is a lot at stake! I am talking about future generations! Their quality of life will depend on our efforts for climate and the way we deal with our scarce resources.

I believe that’s possible. But only if we make some changes: 

  • Better use of new technologies.
  • More international cooperation on re-design, re-use and repair.
  • A dynamic exchange of knowledge and experience on business models and job opportunities.

The international interest in the circular economy is growing. More and more countries and stakeholders are developing and implementing circular approaches.


There’s the African Alliance on Circular Economy.


The Indian Resource Panel’s actions aimed at greater resource efficiency.


Colombia launched a new strategy towards a circular economy.


The G7-initiated the Oceans Plastics Charter to set up a more resource-efficient management of plastics.


The WEF launched the Platform for Acceleration the Circular Economy.


European Circular Hotspots are working together to share best practices.

My country has made a shift too. The Netherlands is striving towards a fully circular economy by 2050. We’re one of the first countries to set an actual target for the use of primary raw materials: by 2030 we want it reduced by 50% and we want to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 49%.


We’ve drawn up action agendas with representatives of our key sectors. We’re going to make manufacturers more responsible for the waste. We’re creating new standards for design. Re-use will be the new normal.

It’s work in progress. And we’re making steps. Like in the building sector: we have reached an Agreement this year with the concrete industry to reduce CO2 emissions and stepwise work towards 100% recyclable concrete by 2030.

And we are working out a plastic pact with many partners and companies. To phase out single use plastic. Reusing high-grade plastics.  Combatting plastic soup.


The chemical industry is now exploring the chemical recycling of plastics, and even textiles. And carbon dioxide is being collected and reused.
Companies like Unilever, IKEA and Philips are committed to using more recyclate in their products.

These are just some examples that show us what’s possible!

That’s why we’re here. To learn from each other and to take the next step and to complete the jigsaw puzzle of our climate policy. A better resource management – an economy without waste – makes our fight against climate change much more effective. It’s the missing link!


Let’s see how we can cooperate to ensure a prosperous future. I look forward to hearing a lot more from you.