Sometimes watching a football match can give you a deja vu feeling. That’s what happened to me during the European Champanionship. Just like the Dutch lost from Denmark and Germany during the European Championship, we are losing in the clean tech sector. According to research done by Rolald Berger Strategy Consultants for the World Wildlife Foundation The Netherlands are loosing market share not only in Europe, where Germany and Denmark manage to maintain a top 3 position worldwide , but also worldwide. The Netherlands in have dropped from 18th to 21st place and sales are decreasing too.
Although we do have 4 Dutch companies named in the Global Clean Tech 100 and five Dutch clean tech companies are speaking at TEDxBinnenhof. The FME, the largest organisation in the Netherlands representing employers and businesses in the technological industry, is even aiming for a top 10 position in clean tech for the Netherlands. During the last couple of years De Groene Zaak (‘Green Business’) has been uniting entrepreneurs that want to speed up the transition to a green economy.
On the government level a difference in approach between The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark can be seen. While Dutch government has been lobbying in Brussel to prevent Canadian tarsand from getting a separate carbon footprint the Danish and German governments are taking action to retain their worldwide position in the fast growing clean tech market. The German decision to close down their nuclear plants attracted a lot of attention. Less attraction is given to the Danish decision to ban oil and gas heaters from new buildings starting in 2013. They also aim to generate 50% of their electricity from wind in 2020 (link in Dutch). The year the Netherlands hope to generate 14% renewable energy (which will be mainly reached by burning biomass and waste).
So it’s about time the Dutch stop talking the talk and start walking the walk on clean tech and energy transition. The ambition from FME, De Groene Zaak and the fact that half of the speakers at TEDxBinnenhof are active in clean tech shows that Dutch entrepreneurs are ready. As is shown by the For entrepreneurs doing is about getting their products and services sold, for Dutch government it’s about time to look at current legislation to remove or adjust parts that hinder the market introduction for clean tech companies and start acting based on a long term vision towards sustainability. For those policy makers and politician looking for inspiration for the coming elections both the research conducted by Roland Berger and the election page of De Groene Zaak provides good starting points.