The Netherlands has improved from 14th position in 2017 to 9th position in 2019 on the Eco-Innovation Index, surpassing France, Ireland, UK, Portugal and Spain. It has as such increased its score to 110 and places itself above the EU average. Comparatively with former reports, the Netherlands has greatly improved several of the indicators in the 2019 five-component index. They scored above EU average in 2017 on resource efficiency outcomes, which in 2019 have been followed by above EU averages scores in eco-innovation input and outputs. Furthermore, the score on eco-innovation activities has greatly improved, although still slightly below European average. The score on socio-economic outcomes remains at the same relative level, just below European average.

The improved score seems in line with the revived political attention for sustainability that was achieved after a number of court cases where the Dutch government was convicted for not reaching their targets. Although the EU targets and treaty obligations are not yet met in the climate and biodiversity field, the court rulings and increased political attention has spurred action: in the energy field with tailored sectoral and regional plans and with attention for hydrogen; in the biodiversity field, the nitrogen problem led to a building stop, a reduction in maximum speed on the motorways and a lot of ongoing discussions about agriculture. Circular economy is considered an important topic, but many barriers persist. Negative environmental effects in product pricing, lack of market demand and limited government funding, as well as too little attention for more innovative approaches higher in the value chain remain the current challenges.

2019 Eco-innovation Scoreboard ranking and eco-innovation index composites for The Netherlands

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