Dutch Government

A public partner for sustainability

The Client

The Dutch Government has been an influential global actor in areas concerning sustainability for many decades. It was responsible for setting up our partnership with a major player in international sustainable trade and one of our long-time clients, the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH). It has also pursued an exemplary environmental policy which has resulted in cleaner rivers, reductions in carbon emissions, reductions in waste streams, and the cleanup of contaminated soil.

Tough Challenge

The Dutch Government admits that various challenges remain for these sustainability issues. There are also serious concerns regarding climate change and the depletion of natural resources and biodiversity, both within the Netherlands and in producing countries.

Shared Opportunity

We are proud to have been working with a number of Ministries on a variety of topics for several years, which have helped to establish the Netherlands’ position as a global driver in sustainability.


Market Transformation in the Protein Transition

In collaboration with DuurzaamDoor, part of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst Voor Ondernemend Nederland, RVO) and  Food For Impact consultancy, we spent the first half of 2016 co-designing an approach for accelerating the protein transition by leveraging market forces and competition—an approach validated and welcomed by experts and stakeholders. As only limited progress had been made on the topic of sustainable protein consumption over the past few years, DuurzaamDoor concluded that a new approach was required to achieve the momentum required for progress, and consequently turned to NewForesight’s approach to market transformation.

Our approach focused on directing the positive energy and drive from the market players, by structuring the process around four key success factors in driving such a market-initiated transition: 1) Setting a 'dot on the horizon' in the form of a shared vision and goals, 2) identify the problem, break it down into clear barriers, and translate these into solutions, 3) think from the business case, focus on opportunities, and reward front-runners, and 4) coordinate from a central hub where short-term profit and long-term impact are of equal importance.

We set a common vision and bold medium-term goal, and also developed a proposition for front-runners to join an envisioned coalition. During the entire process, DuurzaamDoor acted as a driving force, sharing its dedication to the topic and passion to tackle complex sustainability issues. The activities resulted in the opportunity to form a coalition of front-runners, who were willing to invest in further development of this market-based approach to the protein transition, in the second half of 2016. During this follow up period, we supported the coalition called the Green Protein Alliance on strategic and technical levels to further develop and implement their plans.

This led to the presentation of the Alliance's plans during the Green Protein Event on 16 February 2017, with the support of the Junior Minister for Economic Affairs Martijn van Dam, and with a growing group of committed organizations. These plans, publicly available in the Green Protein Growth Plan (Dutch only), mark the end of 1,5 years of hard work from NewForesight. Due to the shift to implementation, we will no longer be actively involved in the Green Protein Alliance for the foreseeable future; nevertheless we are proud to call ourselves one of its initiators and look forward to its positive impact.

Inclusion of Natural Capital in Financial Sector Decision-Making

In order to accelerate the transition towards the inclusion of natural capital in financial sector decision-making, a Community of Practice for Financial Institutes & Natural Capital (CoP-FINC) was formed by important financial sector stakeholders in the Netherlands. The CoP-FINC was set-up as a means to increase knowledge and for sharing best practices by exchanging information and experience in private and online meetings. The Ministry of Economic Affairs (EZ) supported the CoP by providing professional process facilitators from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst Voor Ondernemend Nederland, RVO).

NewForesight’s experience in sustainable market transformations in agri-commodities led to our theories on sustainable market transformation that is applicable far beyond agriculture. We supported RVO in their workshop in 2015 by sharing these theories and giving compelling examples coming from cocoa and coffee. This offered financial institutions new insights into what needed to be done to improve the inclusion of natural capital in decision-making. We helped RVO to use this workshop to inspire participants and to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable policies in the financial sector.

In the article we co-wrote following our work, we describe the Sustainable Transformation Curve and place the financial sector on that curve, providing food for thought for next steps. To find out more, read the article that resulted from this assignment.

Building Blocks for an Enabling Environment for Natural Capital

The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs looks to create an enabling environment that stimulates private and public organizations to include natural capital in their decision-making procedures. The Ministry believes that a systems lens and transitional thinking should be included to strengthen the discussion and find opportunities for implementation.

We supported the Ministry in defining the building blocks for an enabling environment for natural capital based on our earlier work for RVO, as well as helped to communicate this among relevant stakeholders. These building blocks were intended as a contribution to a joint paper on natural capital through a systems lens, called The Natural Capital Coalition. In two separate workshops hosted by The Natural Capital Coalition and Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, we contributed with NewForesight thinking on systems and sustainable sector transformations.

The synthesis of our thinking and insights were used by the Ministry as input for the World Forum on Natural Capital on 23-24 November 2015 in Edinburgh, where leaders from businesses, government and NGO assembled to discuss integration of natural capital in their respective fields.

Setting the Agenda for Working Towards the SDGs

In order to create a unified vision and strategy on sustainable trade in relation to the newly developed Sustainable Development Goals, and to bring coherence to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ wide range of initiatives, we facilitated dialogues among the various departments within the ministry. Utilizing our knowledge of sustainable trade as well as our experience in facilitating strategy development, we were able to convene the departments around a single internal strategy, which was adopted by the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in June 2015.



Natural Capital



The Netherlands

Land Governance in the Global South

Acting on the recommendations of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests of 2012, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiated the Land Governance Multi Stakeholder Dialogue (LG MSD) in August 2014. The goal of this dialogue between financial institutions, industry, NGOs, knowledge institutions, and government, was to determine how to contribute effectively to the improvement of land governance in countries of the ‘global South’ where the Netherlands is active.

The Ministry required an unbiased overview of the private sector’s perspective on land governance issues. We supported with this by gathering insights from twelve Dutch companies operating in the agro-commodity, floriculture, palm oil and infrastructure sectors about their experiences on land governance issues in the Global South. Additionally, we made recommendations to the ministry on how to work together with companies on this issue, which provided opportunities to directly improve land related issues in the countries in question.



Natural Capital



The Netherlands

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