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The Netherlands, France, the Czech Republic and Ireland call for a European policy package on sustainable carbon in the chemical industry

In order to make the transition from fossil to sustainable raw materials in the chemical industry, policy is needed at EU-level. The Netherlands, France, the Czech Republic and Ireland call upon the European Commission to put forward a policy package on sustainable carbon. Vivianne Heijnen, Minister for the Environment of the Netherlands, handed over a joint statement to Wopke Hoekstra, European Commissioner for Climate Action, in Brussels on Tuesday.

The chemical industry is a supplier of components for essential products such as medicines, plastics, paint, mattresses and batteries. At the moment, these products mainly consist of fossil raw materials, such as oil and natural gas. For circular and climate-neutral production by 2050, a switch to sustainable raw materials is needed. These raw materials are reusable or renewable and have less impact on the planet.

Examples of reusable and renewable raw materials are recycled plastics, sugar beets, gas from gasified waste streams or wood chips as a basis for new plastic and other products. These raw materials can replace fossil raw materials and drastically reduce CO2 emissions and boost the circular economy. In this way, the Dutch and European chemical industry can become a world leader in the field of green chemistry.

Need for EU policyWe now use far more raw materials than the Earth can handle. That is why we want to move towards a circular economy. This means that we use raw materials over and over again and that virtually no waste remains. The Netherlands also wants to be climate neutral by 2050.

Minister Heijnen: “With a switch from fossil to sustainable raw materials, we can make great steps towards these two goals. But we don’t want to and can’t do that alone as a country. By tackling this at the European level, we are stronger and achieve two aims at once, in terms of circularity and CO2 emissions. That is why today, together with France, the Czech Republic and Ireland, we are advocating for European policies that effectively stimulate the use of sustainable carbon sources in the chemical industry.“

Minister Micky Adriaansens (Economic Affairs and Climate Policy): “The chemical industry is indispensable for our medicines, paint, but also for our food and construction. We would therefore like to preserve this industry in the Netherlands and Europe. In fact, we want the chemical industry to become a global leader in green chemistry. I therefore think it is important that we work hard to make this sector more sustainable and at the same time strengthen its competitive position by working together in a European context.”

CompetitivenessAn overarching European policy framework is also essential to ensure the long-term competitiveness of the European chemical industry and to reduce our dependence on (fossil) raw materials from abroad.

An EU policy package should help to create markets, the availability of sustainable carbon and tools to strengthen the competitiveness of the chemical industry.


The chemical industry is a supplier of components for essential products such as medicines, plastics, paint, mattresses and …

Publication date: 26/04/2024

Author: Marion Kupfer

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