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Ideas to start a climate-neutral company in the Netherlands

Updated on 26 June 2023

There is a lot of debate going on regarding the environment and how our behavior impacts the climate of our planet. This has already pushed many well-known multinationals to do business in a more climate-friendly, or even climate-neutral, way. Governments all over the world have very ambitious goals when it comes to a climate-neutral and circular way of living. Such as further reducing C02 emissions, recycling every possible material and making sure plastic waste will be eliminated in the future. These are all very sensible goals, aimed at making our environment healthy for everyone on the planet. If you are also interested in environmental issues and would like to actively contribute to certain climate goal, then The Netherlands offers you a solid base of operations for your future business. The Dutch are very innovative and ingenious when it comes to solutions for existing climate problems, and welcome any foreign entrepreneur who is willing to put in the effort, too. In this article we will outline some measures that the government believes will impact the climate positively, how you can implement such measures and what kind of company would be an interesting fit for you.

How can we positively influence the environment and climate?

During the past decades, it became very clear that some parts of the planet are too heavily polluted. This includes cities with too much air pollution that are covered in smog, oceans with tons of plastic waste, lakes where toxic waste is dumped in, garbage in city streets and also the pollution of soil due to the incessant use of pesticides. Most of these causes can be linked back to companies and corporations, since regular citizens generally don’t go out and dump waste in the water. Nonetheless,; consumers have also become environmentally conscious in the past few years. We all recycle more, try to buy sustainable materials and don’t dump waste in the park. In order to clean up the Earth, so to speak, we must all be able to put in an effort to minimize waste and toxic materials as much as possible. This has resulted in some general guidelines that are being promoted worldwide, that will help everyone to live in greater harmony with the planet and environment. These guidelines contain some of the following measures:

  • Drastically reduce carbon emissions by 2030
  • Find alternative solutions for waste, such as the re-usage of materials and recycling
  • Restore parts of nature that have been destroyed or eliminated
  • Switch to clean energy entirely
  • Being conscious about production processes and their impact on the environment
  • Clean oceans and lakes from plastic and (toxic) waste

These are just a few general guidelines, but they show the broader picture of, for example, the UN’s (United Nations) plan. This also means, that any already existing company as well as startup, needs to take into account that their company will also have to be (partly) climate neutral in the coming decades. This requires you to think creatively about how you want your business to be run, and how you will deal with possible pollution and waste in your supply chain.

What can you do as an entrepreneur to adhere to certain climate goals?

The guidelines and measures are fairly broad, so it might seem difficult to instantly convert these to smaller and achievable goals. If you, for example, own a company that has been dumping toxic waste, it’s fairly easy for you to understand that you need to stop doing this. If your company produces and/or uses a lot of plastic materials, you can look for recycled alternatives to make a positive impact. Or you can ask for a small deposit from your customers for using the item, which will enable them to return it to you easier, so you can reuse or recycle the item. This has been the case in the Netherlands and Germany for a while now when it comes to plastic bottles. These need to be returned to the store where the consumer bought them, where they get their deposit back, so the bottles can be cleaned and reused. If you own a clothing company and import a lot of materials, you can make sure that the sources of these materials are environmentally-friendly and sustainable. Another thing you can do, is to try to make deals with local suppliers. This substantially limits the amount of time the goods need to travel to your location, which will reduce your carbon footprint.

If you own a restaurant, or another place where consumers eat directly in your establishment, you can do some research into sustainable accessories such as cups and straws. Needless to say, there are many areas in which we can all become more environmentally friendly and conscious, and some of these measures are actually pretty small and non-invasive regarding your daily business activities. It can be as simple as replacing a regular garbage bin with one that has recycling options, which enables you and your customers to separate your waste immediately. Whatever your chosen industry or business sector is, there is always something you can do to limit any negative impact your company might have on the environment. If you want to learn more about climate goals in or near the location where you have an office, you can always look up the website of the municipality in the Netherlands. They will generally provide you with current goals that they want to achieve, as well as helpful tips and tricks on how to achieve this.

Business sectors that are putting in effort to become climate neutral

In essence, all businesses and industries need to put in the effort to realize certain climate goals, but some companies need to take more direct action, than others. If you own a company, or plan to start a company, that is involved in one of the following, then you can expect more drastic changes will need to be made:

  • The fossil fuel industry
  • Usage of chemicals and possibly toxic waste
  • Energy companies
  • Manufacturing of large machinery and vehicles
  • Production of plastic materials
  • The petrochemical industry
  • The pharmaceutical industry
  • Aviation
  • Farming and the bio-industry
  • Etc.

All these companies use larger amounts of fossil fuels than other businesses. But next to that, they are also more prone to create toxic waste due to the often toxic (raw) materials they use. Furthermore, a lot of companies are also involved in dealing with animals, for example the bio-industry and the pharmaceutical industry, if and when they perform test on animals. These two sectors are under heavy scrutiny, mainly due to animal welfare activism. The general consensus is leaning more and more towards a society in which animal cruelty is abolished completely, and for good reason. If you plan to operate in one of these sectors, you should inform yourself about set goals and how your company will be able to adhere to new laws and regulations. If you want to operate in a different sector, then it would be wise to see how your competitors are handling climate goals. The future is leaning towards a more clean and responsible way of handling our daily affairs, so it’s best if you learn how to adapt and stay flexible.

What kind of business would you like to start in the Netherlands?

After reading the above, we can understand when you feel hesitant about taking appropriate steps and measures to reach certain climate goals. How would you do this? Where can you start? A lot depends on the industry you choose. We already gave some practical tips in a former paragraph, but there are more ways to limit your carbon footprint and lessen a possibly negative impact on the environment. If you deal with the import and export of goods, then make sure your suppliers are trustworthy and, preferably, sustainable. This will rid your entire supply chain of any negative influences. If you own an internet business, try to screen any suppliers and clients before you provide them with your services. That way, you will know whether you are pulled into something shady. Another good tip is to invest in clean energy, whatever your type of business is. Try to inform yourself a little bit about these goals, and brainstorm about how you can contribute with your business. It will not only have a positive impact on your environment, but also your client database. Many consumers are very conscious about what they buy and where they buy it, nowadays. If you create a solid image for yourself by sticking to such goals, chances are large that you will also attract higher-end clients.

Intercompany Solutions can establish your Dutch company in just a few business days

If you want to start a company in the Netherlands, it’s important that you also handle all the administrative tasks efficiently, such as the registration of your company with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. Intercompany Solutions has acquired many years of professional experience and expertise within the field of business establishment. Thus, we can assist you with the entire company registration process, from A to Z. You can find more general information about registering a Dutch company here. Next to that, we also provide extra services aimed at keeping your company stable and flourishing. We can help you with your periodical tax return, or give practical advice that will propel your business to another level. If you need help with certain regulations or laws, we can also explain these to you in simple terms. This also includes any climate laws and measures. Feel free to contact us anytime with your query, and we will get back to you with advice as soon as possible.

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