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It is possible to get out of the corona crisis in a sustainable way!

Interview with Nina Tellegen for MRA Duurzaam, September 22, 2020

As a result of the corona crisis, many entrepreneurs and employees are worried about their future. At the same time, the current economic headwind offers opportunities to accelerate the course that has been set towards a climate-neutral and circular Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. Nina Tellegen, general director of the Amsterdam Economic Board, is convinced of this. “We encounter a lot of enthusiasm in the region and are confident that we will be able to present the MRA Green Deal on December 2.” In the slipstream of the European document with this name, the agreement set outlines the route to a green economy.

Red thread of the MRA Green Deal is to create green jobs. Nina Tellegen sees many opportunities in the energy transition in particular. “Even before corona struck in our country, the sector was struggling with a glaring shortage of professionals from MBO to WO level. Thanks to the crisis, all kinds of matches can now be made there. Especially when you look at people who become unemployed. That is of course a very diverse group, but certainly in the MRA many technicians from theaters or airline companies have lost their jobs. The Green Deal contains proposals to retrain these people. That probably sounds easier than it really is, but I certainly see opportunities. ”

Building blocks

Commissioned by the MRA, the Amsterdam Economic Board, together with the MRA office and the municipality of Amsterdam, is now identifying where the most opportunities lie. “We mainly look at how we can put more energy and action on existing initiatives. Consider making housing more sustainable. This topic is a high priority anyway. The enormous new construction task in the region offers all kinds of opportunities here. Making industrial sites more sustainable is another such topic. This has been discussed for a long time within the MRA. We are now examining how this can be accelerated. ”

Accelerating circular procurement is a completely different track. “A serious option is broadening to create impact. Think of facility purchasing for large groups of companies, governments and knowledge institutions. We started the campaign from the Board ‘Purchasing with Impact’ to make it an MRA-wide movement. If that succeeds, we can really make a fist to accelerate circular procurement and clean delivery. I see other serious opportunities in making the textile market and the food chains more sustainable. ”

“The MRA Green Deal consists of a concrete set of agreements”

Broad steering committee

Just before the summer, administrators, entrepreneurs and researchers set the clocks for the MRA Green Deal during a webinar. There was surprisingly much support for the accelerated start of a sustainable course. It was immediately decided to set up a steering group. This consists of representatives of government, industry and knowledge institutions. “ORAM, the largest business network in the region, is also included. We are now mainly looking at initiatives that many companies have already joined and whether it is interesting for them to join the Green Deal. Because no matter how you turn or turn, business is crucial for greening the economy.

Course

Results are not yet to be reported, but according to Tellegen they will arrive soon. “Our project manager started on 1 September. He is now conducting inventory discussions with all kinds of stakeholders. In the meantime, the steering group is looking at who qualifies for a leading role. ” According to her, the process is in a pressure cooker. “We want to offer the deal on December 2. This is done in the form of a concrete set of agreements. It’s really about the content and not about outlining a process. That is not concrete enough. ” On the other hand, it is not a boarded-up document. “The deal indicates what we are going to set in motion now, but there will certainly be room for initiatives to join in in the subsequent period. Moreover, we also look at the opportunities to hitch a ride at a national and European level. The name makes it obvious, for example, to join the European Green Deal of Frans Timmermans. ”

MRA Agenda

The new MRA Agenda was adopted by the authorities in the region in mid-April, just after the corona crisis had erupted in full force in our country. Naturally, this has not been taken into account in the new policy course. Still, Tellegen does not expect the current economic downturn to affect the content. “Much of what we do fits in very well with the direction of the MRA Agenda. It is already committed to a circular and energy transition. The context has of course changed completely, because the agenda was drawn up at a time of enormous labor shortages. Nobody had foreseen the rapidly increasing unemployment in recent months. This requires adjustment of the measures and the MRA Green Deal serves that purpose, but the content can generally remain the same. ”

Creativity and brainpower

The number of infections has increased rapidly in recent weeks, especially in Amsterdam. Tellegen is worried, but not in the sense that a second lockdown is necessary. “As far as I am concerned, such a drastic measure is shooting an elephant with a mosquito. The bottleneck this spring was mainly the lack of capacity in healthcare, together with all the uncertainty about the virus. Now we know a lot more and few people are in the ICU. Another lockdown would do so much damage to the economy. Now worse can be prevented by harnessing brainpower and creativity. Let’s focus on that and together speed up the making of the MRA Green Deal so that people who have become unemployed can get back to work quickly. ”

MRA Green Deal

A joint approach to the sustainability ambitions should enable a faster recovery of the economy of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area while strengthening the economy and labor market of the future. We do this in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area through the MRA Green Deal, together with knowledge institutions, companies and governments. read more .

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