A circular economy requires change and people who make the difference. During the Month of Circular Economy we interviewed West-Brabant Circular Difference Makers. How do they contribute to a more sustainable, circular region? In part six: Waldo Maaskant, programme strategist circular and biobased economy at the province of Noord-Brabant.
Repost and translated from: www.west-brabant.eu
In what way is the province contributing to a circular economy in West Brabant?
“Making the Brabant economy and society circular is also a provincial task. The task is large and complex. Everyone must do their bit. The question is often asked, but what role does the province play in these major challenges? Well, putting it on the agenda or putting it on the national agenda and making a programme around it. Another task is to mobilise, connect parties and organise collaborations. We can also contribute to creating the right preconditions: also called facilitating and encouraging. By creating the right conditions, you can speed up development.
“Nice example is the development of the biobased economy West-Brabant in recent years. This started with a programme in 2010. The basis for the successful development was the good cooperation between companies, educational institutions and authorities. The province also contributed to linking the various parties, which ultimately which ultimately developed into a leading biobased ecosystem. Namely, Circular Biobased Delta with research and development locations such as the Green Chemistry Campus, agrofood cluster Nieuw Prinsenland and the Moerdijk port and industry cluster.
Why is this important?
“Like the municipalities, the province of North Brabant has also signed the climate agreement and the raw materials agreement. This means there is work to be done in the field of energy and raw materials. The objectives are ambitious for the coming years. The biobased development contributes to this. But in addition to bio-based and agrofood, we are building coalitions of parties in the other circular themes such as construction, consumer goods, plastics and the manufacturing industry. As a government party, we are also working hard on circularity within our own organisation and activities. For instance, in the procurement of goods and services or the application of circularity in infrastructure projects.
What is the success factor?
“Success always depends on who is participating. As I said, the province cannot do it alone. Cooperation between government and businesses, but also between educational institutions like Curio or Avans Hogeschool in this region, is of great importance. They ultimately provide the well-trained employees of the future. We also work closely with regional organisations. Administratively, of course, we have our deputies who are committed to a bio-based and circular economy. That administrative commitment is also important. It sends out a strong signal. Ultimately, you want everyone to support a circular economy.”
What are the further ambitions? Where will you be in five years?
“As a provincial government, we naturally adhere to agreements that have been agreed at national level and and laid down in the Climate and Resource Agreement. That means that in five years we will be working on reducing CO2 emissions and primary raw material use. It would be nice if in the coming period we could demonstrate the necessity and advantages of a circular society. Good examples from companies and institutions help in this and fortunately we already have many of these good examples in Brabant. The innovative power of Brabant is an important driver.”
How do you inspire others to get started?
“From my role I attach great importance to the story being told in the right way, based on the opportunities the theme offers. So that companies, educational partners and municipalities become enthusiastic about taking circular steps. I do this mainly by showing many examples. That works well and often makes things much clearer for entrepreneurs, for example. Sometimes you have to make the circular process very small with local examples, so that later you can make them enthusiastic for the bigger picture.”