Business opportunities for sustainable coastal and river engineering

The protection of our delta and coastal areas is a constantly growing concern and innovations are crucial. The ‘Working with Nature’ approach is innovative, sustainable, and offers great business opportunities.

The climate change issue

The world market for civil engineering in delta and coastal areas alone is €120 billion. Large sums of money are being spent on traditional civil engineering, such as the building of dams and dykes. But while the industry continues to focus on hard infrastructure, climate change is driving an urgent need for more resilient and adaptive alternatives.

The project solution

Innovation experiments in the field of flood protection, river restoration, harbour development and sediment management in the UK, Spain and the Netherlands, demonstrate that an ecosystem oriented, therefore ‘Working with Nature’ approach, is highly effective. Also, it generates business opportunities that are malleable to the changing climate. They offer a reaction to the threat of growing hazards and vulnerabilities, as well as an opportunity for improvements. By matching the natural regulatory functions of river and coastal ecosystems with human engineering for flood protection and urban development cost reductions of up to 40% can be delivered compared to typical dyke constructions. The project aims to assess new market opportunities and the potential for up-scaling ‘Working with Nature’ initiatives on both a European and global level. At the same time, working with rather than working against nature.

The role of Climate-KIC

“Working with Climate-KIC, with its continuous focus on entrepreneurship and start-ups, brought about an awareness of business opportunities among the project-participants. The ‘Working with Nature’ project wouldn’t have been the same without the input from other European partners from the Climate-KIC network, with each partner contributing with their own expertise. The collaboration, especially the field visits to each other’s working areas, turned out to be extremely fruitful.” Wageningen University