Province, universities and businesses to collaborate on circular South Holland
The province of South Holland is to collaborate with industry, the three LDE universities Leiden Delft and Erasmus, and the University of Wageningen in a knowledge and innovation programme to speed up the transition to a circular economy. The programme, ACCEZ, is expected to generate new knowledge.
Bringing together industry and science
The programme connects companies that want to work towards a circular economy with researchers in the broadest sense of the word. They will together look at ways of resolving bottlenecks in a range of different areas and creating new opportunities. This could be related to a specific area or a particular type of product. Take, for example, the legal restrictions on the use of residual waste to prevent subsidence, which is a real issue in the central Green Heart area of the Netherlands.
ACCEZ (Accelerating Circular Economy South Holland) is an initiative of the province of South Holland. The other participants are Leiden University, Delft University of Technology, Erasmus University Rotterdam (as members of the LDE strategic alliance), Wageningen University & Research and VNO-NCW West. The circular economy that ACCEZ is aiming for is an economic system in which products and raw materials are reused and the amount of waste is reduced. Ideally, this would be a closed system.
One of the possible areas to be studied is the use of residual waste to compensate for the subsidence of the peat soil in the Green Heart (photo above), which is coming up against legal objections.
For more examples, see the ACCEZ website. You can also use this site to raise any issues or submit iseas for speeding up the circular economy.
The province will be investing 5 million euros in the programme over the coming four years: universities and the business sector will provide knowledge, skills and manpower. One of the participants is Leiden Professor Arnold Tukker, Director of Leiden's Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) and coordinator of the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Sustainability. He was one of the researchers who developed the plan with the province: 'This really is a fantastic development. With the ACCEZ initiative South Holland is bringing together its universities and its innovation ecosystem. It will give the universities a better understanding of what is needed for the transition to circularity in South Holland as well as providing them with an excellent opportunity to match knowledge development with practice.'
Member of the Provincial Council Adri Bom-Lemstra commented: ‘Moving to a new economic model is a big step. It calls for innovative entrepreneurship and practice-oriented scientific research. And, equally important, innovative policy-making. In our intensely urbanised province in particular, with the port of Rotterdam, greenports and international and innovative businesses, we can and must make that transition.'
Programme in practice
ACCEZ was launched on Thursday 5 April in the Maas silo in Rotterdam. After the official signing of the partnership agreement, Anne-Marie Rakhorst, entrepreneur, publicist and speaker on sustainability, gave an inspiring talk. Scientists, entrepreneurs and policy-makers immediately started discussions on the possibilities of together making a breakthrough.