Minister for the Environment Heijnen at World Circular Economy Forum, Helsinki

30-05-2023

It is not a new topic, it is not a distraction from reaching the Paris climate goals. No, it is a fundamental tool for addressing global crises such as pollution, climate change and loss of biodiversity, and doing that in an integrated way. This said Vivianne Heijnen at the WCEF in Helsinki.

Distinguished guests,

  • I’m grateful for this opportunity to speak to you at the end of this session. And would like to thank the people who organised this very useful meeting.
     
  • It’s great to come together again to discuss the instrumental role that the financial sector has to play in our transition to a circular economy.
     
  • At our last meeting, during COP27 in Egypt, we laid out a high-level roadmap for unlocking the potential of international financial institutions in the circular economy transition. That was just seven months ago.
     
  • During the past hour we’ve been reminded once again that we can only accelerate circular transitions with the involvement of the financial sector; and how roadmaps enable action; and what action on the ground looks like.
     
  • The question now is: how do we move forward? I would like to share some thoughts, and to leave you with three key messages.
     
  • Number one: actions speak louder than words. In the Netherlands, we’ve taken steps to position the financial sector as a catalyst for circularity. The Dutch Central Bank and I brought together key parties to discuss common ground for moving forward. This led to the roadmap – and I’m sure that many of you will find inspiration in the lessons learned in the Netherlands.
  • At the same time, we Dutch people like to talk. We like discussions, thinking things through together. But ultimately, you have to put your money where your mouth is, as they say. Which means we need to start taking action. Specifically, we need to take the steps we set out in the roadmap. Money has to flow towards bankable, scalable business models.
     
  • To put it very directly, something the Dutch have a talent for as well;), I encourage all of you to be bold and to challenge each other to act.
     
  • Number two: Be the ambassador this theme deserves. Pollution, climate change and loss of biodiversity are problems that don’t stop at national borders. And since transnational issues require transnational solutions, our international financial institutions must contribute to finding them.
     
  • Several multilateral development banks have already come together and launched collaborations. That’s a major achievement already.
     
  • The seed for this initiative was planted during the World Circular Economy Forum + Climate that took place in the Netherlands in 2021.
     
  • I’m proud that the Netherlands has embraced this initiative and is taking the lead in moving it forward. And I also urge other national governments and international organisations to step forward and give this initiative the support it deserves.
     
  • Number three. I can’t say this often enough: the circular economy does not exist in isolation.
     
  • It is not a new topic, it is not a distraction from reaching the Paris climate goals. No: it is a fundamental tool for addressing global crises such as pollution, climate change and loss of biodiversity, and doing that in an integrated way.
     
  • And if you ask me, the current geopolitical climate gives us even more reason to re-evaluate the resilience of our value chains.

Friends,

  • The financial sector hold a key that can unlock the circular transition. I’d like to turn that key together with you, to open the door and welcome a brighter future for coming generations.
     
  • Thank you.

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