Global Climate Action Summit inspires and calls for action

October 01, 2018

The Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, what an inspiring event! People from all over the world came together from 11-14 September 2018 to discuss Climate Change and governments, ngo’s and companies can contribute to a better world. We thank all participants and Dutch Consulate, NLEnterprise Agency and Ministry of Infrastucture & Watermanagement for (co) organizing the seminars and highlighting Dutch best practices on Circular Economy. Holland Circular Hotspot was the co-organizer of the event focusing on ‘Food and Plastic Waste in the Circular City’.


Great prospects for collaboration

“California and the Netherlands have great prospects for collaboration toward a #CircularEconomy,” said Dutch Minister for the Environment Stientje van Veldhoven during the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

‘Food and Plastic Waste in the Circular City', September 14

Over 120 participants joined the breakfast session at the Dutch Consulate General on Food & Plastic Waste. The opening of Consul General Mr. G. Kunst was followed by a key note speech of Dutch State Secretary for the Environment, Stientje van Veldhoven. A greater part of Holland lives below sea-level so we need to take action and work together to overcome Climate challenges like the rising of the sea-level and the growing world population. In her speech the minister focused on Circular solutions as an answer to the Climate Goals.

High level panel discussion

Andrew Steer, president and CEO of World Resources Institute moderated a chat with the Minister and Boyan Slat as well as a high level panel discussion. In the panel discussion Mayor Aboutaleb of Rotterdam pointed out that pricing of bioproducts and healthier food is way too expensive, we need to address the food supply chain and retailers to come up with a solution for healthier food and to avoid single use plastics. Debbie Raphael, Director of San Francisco Dept. of Environment shared her vision and how the city implemented the 0 – 80 – !00% Roots strategy: ”We must achieve 0 waste, take at least 80% of our trips sustainably, and use 100% renewable energy while reducing consumption”. Recology’s Mike Sangiacomo is a frontrunner in waste recycling, focusing the company’s strategy on social entrepreneurship and by encouraging sustainable resource recovery. Jeff Turner of DSM highlighted the plans and strategy of DSM in Circular Economy, the company shows strong commitment to changing the industry, for example by influencing the materials used in carpets. DSM also started programs with Dutch Auping to design mattresses from a single kind of plastic and steel which makes it easier to recycle and re-use.

After a short break, Gerben Wigmans of the City of Rotterdam and Jack Macy of San Francisco gave a more in-depth view on the city ambitions and their challenges. Rotterdam recently launched their news ambitions, in 2023 80% of the municipal material chains in the building industry are 100% circular and 100% circular buying with the municipality in 2030.

US and Dutch solutions

Next part of the program some of the best practices of US and Dutch solutions on Food and Plastic waste were discussed. Kicked of by a session focused led by Anne-Marie Rakhorst (founder of Bas Rüter of Rabobank supports many of their clients to become more circular and started programs to avoid food-waste, helping companies in the food industry with new packaging solutions but also stimulating initiatives in the harbor of Rotterdam to reduce waste in the maritime industry. Amir Berkovich highlighted the high ambitions of one of the biggest food service industry companies Sodexo. Sodexo with 425.000 employees can have a huge impact on the supply chain, as big food production companies are their suppliers as well as their clients. Sodexo promotes transparency in the supply chain, taking a lead in Circular food by programs like Better Tomorrow 2025 and by starting a pilot program to fully discard of single use plastics in the company restaurant of Unilever in Rotterdam. Big US food industry player Mars Inc. focus mainly on energy reduction in production process and transportation, moving to a low carbon economy. Plastic packaging remains a challenge since the industry needs strong and lightweight materials to reduce energy in transportation and avoid food spill.

Creating value from food-waste

Ruben Dubelaar of Holland Circular Hotspot moderated the session on prevention of food spill and creating value from food-waste. Highlighting that 40% of the food in the US goes uneaten and is wasted, Claire Schlemme of Renewall Mill showed that fibrous byproducts can be used to produce an array of versatile products. Claire treated the audience by serving some cookies, produced with Renewall Mill OKARA FLOUR. Joris Heijnen of Greendish advices cities and governments on healthier diets and solutions to avoid food-spill, with their program Restaurants of Tomorrow Greendish aims to greenify kitchens. One of the most creative solutions might be the food preservation technology that’s actually made from food-waste (avocado and citrus peels). Jenny Du of Apeel explained their technology that helps to extend the life of fresh food products by creating an extra layer that doubles the lifespan of fruit and vegetables. Challenges for Apeel are the regulations on food and the bureaucracy to have certain products certified.

Holland Circular Hotspot Pop Up Embassy events

Holland Circular Hotspot summarized the session of the day and announced that, together with the Dutch Consulate, other Holland Circular Hotspot Pop Up Embassy events for the US west coast are being planned. In 2017 California and the Netherlands have signed an MoU to collaborate on the Climate Goals. After the GCAS it can be concluded that governments and private sector players find common goals in Zero Waste and closing the loop for resources like food, plastics, water and building materials. Solutions can be found through the Circular approach on design and new business models (products as a service or urban mining) or material flow mapping.

Opening Circular Design Exhibition, September 13

The exhibition ‘Clean Revolution. Dutch Design for a Better World’, was opened by the Dutch State Secretary for the Environment, Stientje van Veldhoven. The exhibition in the Westfield Mallas, organized by Yksi Connect and the Dutch Consulate General, featured fashion and designs created in a circular and sustainable manner. Over 20 Dutch designers exhibited their creative solutions for a world where waste does not exist.

”We must achieve 0 waste, take at least 80% of our trips sustainably, and use 100% renewable energy while reducing consumption”.

Debbie Raphael, Director of San Francisco Dept. of Environment