EIT Climate-KIC partner Ecomatters’ non-profit initiative, Klimaatgerust, works with shops, catering, healthcare and service providers to reduce their climate impact, providing them with a climate certificate they can display, so shoppers can be more mindful of their choices too.
To combat climate change, the Dutch government wants to reduce the Netherlands’ greenhouse gas emissions by 49 per cent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, and a 95 per cent reduction by 2050. Klimaatgerust was founded in 2018 as a response to the Netherlands’ climate targets, to support small businesses through the transition.
Klimaatgerust evaluates a company’s current climate impact, looking at aspects of the company’s operation that are in its direct control. For example: Energy use for heating, lighting, operating equipment, refrigeration, and more. Then, it offers a tailor-made report with ways the business can reduce their carbon footprint.
“Within this framework, we are confident the shop owner can reduce the shop’s emissions by 50 to 70 per cent with easy-to-achieve actions,” said Eelco van IJken, Consultant, Klimaatgerust. “First, we look at their energy use. Using LED lights, for example, is one easy way to reduce energy usage. You can also maintain and optimise heating, ventilation and air conditioning installations, and buy a more energy efficient refrigerator. Then, building insulation, and electric heating and cooling options should be explored while at the same time getting a green energy contract.”
The initiative also helps the business owner develop investment planning, so that changes can be scheduled and rolled out in alignment with their budget and replacement planning.
“It’s all about making the right decision at the right moment when you have the financial opportunity,” said van IJken. “We want to help set the local shop owner up for success in the context of this larger climate transition mandated by the government.”
Klimaatgerust helped around 300 companies go greener in 2019. It’s set up a three-tier certification system, from climate conscious to climate efficient to climate neutral, which it awards to businesses it works with. The certificates displayed by participating companies also help customers choose climate-friendly businesses to purchase from.
Klimaatgerust also involves the community more directly. For example, following the popularity of Fridays for Future, the initiative had the idea to work with schoolchildren, who could act as ambassadors for going green. Eight primary school classes in Utrecht from different socio-economic backgrounds were chosen and the children connected to their local communities, including nearby shops and shop owners, engaging them on climate action and encouraging them to adopt climate-friendly practices. Following the campaigning, the shops were more amendable to making changes with Klimaatgerust’s help.
Follow Klimaatgerust’s Instagram account to see how they’re helping communities and businesses in the Netherlands go green.