Opting for a green recovery, after the corona crisis

After the corona crisis, the Dutch Government will have to assist the process of economic recovery. The most effective recovery measures would be those that boost both the economy and employment, in the short term, while also contributing to a sustainable economy in the longer term. This is the conclusion by the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli) in its advisory report, ’Green Recovery', presented on the 10th of July to the Ministers and State Secretaries of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Economic Affairs  and Climate Policy, Infrastructure and Water Management, and Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.

The government has numerous options at its disposal to support economic recovery in the Netherlands. The measures chosen will also have a long-term impact on the Dutch economy. Taking sustainability targets into account, as set by the government for the future economy, would help to ensure that recovery programmes both contribute to rapid recovery and be beneficial to future generations.

Accelerating and postponing policy

The corona crisis has rapidly changed our behaviour and habits, and with it also the way we look at society. Whether these changes are permanent remains to be seen, but the Council believes that the government's recovery measures should respond to any such changes if those would provide an additional impulse for the transition towards a more sustainable economy. In some cases, policies will need to be expanded or implemented more rapidly. In other cases, however, it will be necessary to take a step back — because, after the corona crisis, it may be unclear whether ‘business-as-usual’ is still the best course to follow. For example, the Council recommends that new road construction projects be postponed, now that there appear to be so many opportunities for different ways of working and commuting. The Council advocates accelerating the management and maintenance of existing infrastructure.

Assessment framework for green recovery measures

The Council is of the opinion that sustainability objectives are currently insufficiently taken into account in the political deliberations on recovery policy. And so it presents an easy to apply assessment framework that can help policymakers and political parties in designing green recovery policy, drawing up election manifestos aimed at a green recovery, and in developing the next Coalition Agreement.

Suggested green recovery measures

The Council presents concrete suggestions for green recovery across a number of policy domains. These include a more rapid insulation of the existing housing stock, accelerating new housing construction, development of future-proof energy infrastructure, improving the sustainability of rural areas, and promoting zero-emission mobility and transport onshore, offshore and in the air.

Build on what people value in their local environment

Climate change is currently the greatest global threat to our future. Immediate implementation of the Climate Agreement and the transition towards a carbon-free economy will have to be given full priority in government policy. However, much more is needed to ensure a healthy, safe, vital, accessible and sustainable physical environment for our residents. It requires a push across many areas. Public support for policy-making in all these areas is crucial. The Council considers it of great importance that ’green recovery’ builds on what people find important and value in their local environment so that measures truly contribute to the wider quality of their local environment.

Note to the editor

For further information about the report, please contact project leader Bart Swanenvleugel; bart.swanenvleugel@rli.nl, +31 (0)6 52 01 26 91.
For press interviews, please contact our communications advisor Miep Eisner; miep.eisner@rli.nl, +31 (0)6 15 36 93 39.