After decades of over-exploiting our resources we are more concerned about sustainability lately. Reality is that even though we do not have much time left to fix things, there is still hope for the future. At IWNG Rotterdam we want to focus on efforts in our local area. We will share a series of interviews with the sustainable companies in Rotterdam. 

Sustainability

With the increasing issues of our planet earth, sustainable living is now a must do. There are countless resources describing sustainability and its subcategories.

The simplest definition of sustainability is creating abundant living for all creatures on earth. The key to that is to mindfully use resources. It is a complex and controversial topic. Sustainability is in the intersection of social, economic, political and environmental requirements. Sustainability is in food sector, healthcare, childcare, clothing, shopping, travel, trade, parenting, gardening, animal care, travel choices and energy consumption. You name it! 

We are all noticing that the word sustainability is used more and the related green terms are increasing day by day. There is an increase in the awareness of people and attention from world organizations. New regulations imposed by the governments in many areas of consumption. In this new decade we will face more and more challenges about sustainability and environmental conditions. Even though the awareness is increasing, the issues are growing.

As we make sustainability a living style, we naturally start looking around what can be done in our close environment and communities. Nowadays, the result of not acting timely on this critical subject is hitting our world in very serious and irreversible ways. That’s why we are more alert and noticing that a change is happening. And we need to manage the change better. In the communities we belong to, in the cities we live in we can make more impact.

The series of sustainable companies in Rotterdam will also help us to notice and interact with the experts in this topic. In this respect, we are also looking forward to any collaboration suggestions from this community. 

Every action counts
Every action counts

Sustainable Development 

At the global level, the UN leads the topic with its new global goals for sustainable development: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Seventeen goals were formulated and divided into secondary goals back in 2015. These goals target world’s critical issues like poverty, hunger, gender equality, mental health, climate change and so on. The 193 member states that signed this agreement have been engaging their resources to comply with the targets. There has been a tremendous increase in attention and action due to this global agreement. However; the 2020 report is showing that the expectations have not met the pace required. The ongoing issues of our world including the pandemic shows that there is insufficient progress in most of the goals.

“As Member States recognized at the SDG Summit held last September, global efforts to date have been insufficient to deliver the change we need, jeopardizing the Agenda’s promise to current and future generations. Now, due to COVID-19, an unprecedented health, economic and social crisis is threatening lives and livelihoods, making the achievement of Goals even more challenging.”  – UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is another organization in the effort to reduce the effects of climate change. Their report published in 2020 also signals the criticality the biodiversity is facing.

What gives hope is that the new generations are much more serious about this subject! In a podcast I listened to recently, an activist said that the key to succeed in the topic of sustainability and environmental issues is collaboration between different generations. We all need to get our acts together to change the troublesome situation we have created. Could Dalai Lama and Greta Thunberg’s talk be an example of this? 

In The Netherlands

The Dutch government in parallel to the UNSDGS has set targets to move to a complete circular economy by 2050.  This term ‘’Circular economy’’ is defined as reuse of raw materials without any damage or with minimum impact to the environment and population. Looking at the report it is possible to see that there is a good plan and intention.

Overall the progress of reaching UNSDGS targets has been reported in each year’s reports. There are some targets which The Netherlands still needs to put more attention to while there are some which the country is doing better than other.

Sustainable Living & Companies in Rotterdam

If ever you read about Rotterdam’s history then you know that this city was rebuilt from scratch post WWII. In the Netherlands, the person per square meter is really dense. Because of the space issue the country learnt to grow smart. In relation with this the sustainability is considered in the decision making process. However, with increasing population and the increasing consumerism like everywhere else Rotterdam and its people are also struggling.

Rotterdam is supporting the country sustainability targets like any other city does. And it is already one of the most sustainable cities of The Netherlands. Still, like everywhere else in Rotterdam there is also more to do to support the resolution of the serious issues the whole world is facing.

Rotterdam Day
A sustainable workplace in Rotterdam

We will introduce more about sustainable businesses in Rotterdam in later posts. If you also want to learn more about sustainability efforts in the city, you can check out Rotterdam Circulair, Rotterdam Duurzaam, Rotterdams Milieu Centrum, or Citylab 010. If any city can make it happen, it’s Rotterdam!

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Yildiz Middel
yildiz68@gmail.com

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