Green chemistry / bio-based economy

A wide range of materials and products can be made from plant-based and animal-based biomass. This reduces our dependence on fossil fuels such as petroleum. RIVM carries out research into how such a bio-based economy can contribute to a healthier population and a better living environment. This research contributes to the transition to a circular economy. 

Biogas / bio-based economy

Biogas is a renewable source of energy. It provides opportunities for reducing CO2 emissions, while at the same time recycling and effectively utilising bio-waste. A potential disadvantage of biogas production is that the residues can cause environmental pollution if used as fertiliser. RIVM contributes to efforts focused on evaluating the negative impact of this so-called digestate. RIVM also studies other aspects of covered fermentation, such as environmental safety and pathogenic microorganisms.

Evaluation tools

RIVM creates tools for evaluating the sustainability of (production) chains. Government entities can use these tools to evaluate their policy proposals in terms of sustainability in order to make more balanced choices. The impact of existing measures on sustainability can also be evaluated, providing insight into opportunities for making improvements on the road to a more sustainable society.  For example, RIVM has developed in collaboration with the Copernicus Institute of Utrecht University, a sustainability method selection tool. This tool helps you find within threes steps the best method for answering your sustainability question. 

Sustainability and consumption

RIVM integrates expertise in the area of consumption patterns and influencing behaviour. This kind of expertise enables the government to encourage sustainable and healthy patterns of consumer behaviour. Changing our consumption patterns is a step in the direction of a circular economy and a sustainable society.

Sustainable spatial planning

RIVM provides advice on the design of green, healthy, and climate resilient cities and villages. RIVM integrates various areas of its expertise in doing so, for example with regard to urban water systems. A systems-based approach ensures the sustainability of future water supplies, reduces the risk of infectious diseases, and provides a buffer against extremely high temperatures in urban environments. Green areas in urban environments, for example in the form of parks or urban agriculture, help to absorb the impact of climate change. 

Other areas of focus

Sustainability is a central theme that underlies all the work carried out by RIVM. We contribute to the United Nations'  Sustainable Development Goals in various ways. For example, RIVM studies the relationship between a healthy lifestyle and a sustainable approach towards the environment and carries out research into sustainable soil management.