The Dutch Climate Agreement contains measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands. Many products used in the Netherlands are manufactured abroad. The Dutch government therefore wishes to explore whether policies are needed to reduce emissions across the entire supply chain and how this could be achieved. RIVM and Statistics Netherlands have reviewed the issue. This study has identified national and international cooperation, the circular economy and an active role for the government as important areas for further consideration. 

The climate is an international issue

Greenhouse gases are released during many processes – from the moment the raw materials are extracted up to the product manufacturing and waste processing phases. These emissions do not only take place in the Netherlands. The Dutch Climate Agreement does not extend to emissions produced abroad. Therefore, the government wished to examine whether there is need for reduction of emissions in the overall supply chain. The government also wished to identify what methods are currently used to calculate and register emissions. 

Review by RIVM and Statistics Netherlands

Statistics Netherlands reviewed what data it currently has available to calculate overall emissions in the supply chain and what data are still missing. RIVM conducted interviews with policymakers, environmental organisations and the business community.

Collaboration and linking up with the circular economy

Most respondents consider that policy is needed in relation to emissions that take place outside the Netherlands. In their opinion, the circular economy provides opportunities to reduce emissions across the supply chain. If, for example, we were to recycle steel in the Netherlands, domestic emissions might increase, but emissions outside the Netherlands might decrease. Nor would new raw materials and transport be needed. Measures aimed at reducing emissions in the supply chain were also discussed.

It is essential that all ministries working on climate change and the circular economy collaborate. The Netherlands must also cooperate with other countries in this endeavour. This would allow policies on emissions and methods to calculate emissions to be aligned.

According to the respondents, the government should take the lead in bringing the various parties involved together. The climate change issue is too complex and multifaceted to be left to the private sector.