Conference: Empowering Sustainability


On the 22nd and the 23rd of May, we visited the Gelderland province in the Netherlands to participate in International European Entrepreneurial Region Conference on Empowering Sustainability.

During the two-day conference, we met innovative start-ups, scale-up hubs and clusters from various European regions. Experts from an array of disciplines looked at the theme of Empowering Sustainability from different perspectives, here are our highlights:

Alberic Pater, Sustainability Manager of IKEA Netherlands, revealed that one of IKEA’s targets is to have emission-free home deliveries. While sustainability is not that easy to achieve in an everyday routine, IKEA strives to provide sustainable solutions and choices. Pater made it clear that the company’s mission is to transform into a circular business.

Erik van Wijk from Programme Lead Near-Zero Energy with EIT Climate-KIC and Harry Matser from Alderman for Climate and Energy at the municipality of Zutphen spoke about how to implement and finance the retrofit to near-zero energy 10,000 homes per city.

Michiel Scheffer, Provincial Executive member of the Province of Gelderland, and Bert Ravelli from Programme Development and Financing East Netherlands looked at the topic from a government perspective. The role of a regional government needs to change and invest in society by long-term programming and financing.

Els Sweeney-Bindels, Head of EIB Group office Amsterdam, together with Allego’s CEO Anja van Niersen
Spoke about how the EIB supports innovation and sustainability. In this case, Allego was a practical example of an EIB beneficiary from Gelderland as Allego received a EUR 40 million loan with support from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) to further the company’s investment in creating an open and interoperable charging network in Europe. As part of the European Institutions, the European Investment Bank (EIB) finances projects that contribute to the goals of the European Union.

John Baekelmans introduced the One Planet research centre that will develop long-term solutions to promote health. The centre carries out research on sustainable and balanced food production.

The province of Gelderland was dubbed one of the most Entrepreneurial regions in Europe of 2019, click here to learn more about the province.