Update Dutch Politics – Parliamentary year kicked off with new government in sight
New government may include more ministers and major overhaul of income tax system
- At the start of the new parliamentary year, the Netherlands is still run by a care-taker government, consisting of VVD (Liberal Conservatives) and PvdA (Social Democrats) – until a new government is formed.
- It’s been 176 days since Election Day (15 March 2017), which already makes it the second longest formation period in Dutch political history.
- However, the four negotiating parties VVD (Liberal Conservatives), CDA (Christian Democrats), D66 (Liberal Democrats) and Christian Union (Christian Conservatives) are expected to reach an agreement within weeks – possibly shortly after Budget Day (19 September).
- The new government is likely to have a bigger Cabinet team with 16 ministers (the present Cabinet only has 13):
- The four parties involved in the negotiations are also considering a major overhaul of the income tax system. They are looking at abolishing two of the four tax bands and implementing a flat tax, and only high earners surpassing a certain limit would pay a different rate on their earnings.
Chamber Luncheon 8 September, 2017
On September 8, 2017 the Swedish Chamber of Commerce was very proud to welcome H.E. Ambassador of Sweden Mr. Per Holmström and Mr. Magnus Hall, President & CEO Vattenfall our keynote speaker and honorary guest at our Chamber Luncheon at Hotel De L'Europe.We would like to thank Mr. Magnus Hall for his very inspirational presentation and for sharing Vattenfall's views in the new energy world. During the luncheon we were also very pleased to personally welcome the following new members and contact persons: Staffan Landén, Piet Ozinga, Samskip, Inge van Dreumel and her colleagues from CommunicatieKrachten, Cees Westera, Public Matters and Tomas Korseman, Business Sweden. We would like to thank Nuon part of Vattenfall for their generous support and all participants for making our Swedish Chamber Luncheon September to a huge success. Last but not least we would like to extend our thanks to Hotel De L'Europe, member of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, for their pleasant hosting.
Interview with Annika Hult, Stena Line, proud sponsor of #Nordic Talks 2017
In Swe-News September we are very proud to highlight our member company Stena Line, one of our generous sponsors for #NordicTalks 2017 on October 10, 2017.Annika Hult, Trade Director, North Sea talked to Anna Johansson from the Swedish Chamber of Commerce about Stena Line’s sustainability focus and why Stena Line support Swedish Chambers program #NordicTalks2017 about the UN Sustainability Development Goals organized together with the Finnish Chamber of Commerce and the Danish Business Club with the support of all the Scandinavian Embassies. Please tell us a little about Stena Line as an organization and about your role! Stena Line is one of the leading ferry companies in Europe with an extensive route network consisting of 20 routes and 37 vessels. Our focus and our business model is to combine freight and passengers and this has proven to be a successful concept. Every year we transport around 2 million freight units and 7 million passengers. Our vision is “Connecting Europe for a Sustainable future” which indicates that sustainability is a central part of our strategy. I have had the position as MD for Stena Line in Holland/Trade Director Stena Line North Sea since 2014.Prior to that I have had different roles within other parts of Stena AB, just before joining Stena Lines business in Holland I was MD for Stena International with headquarters in Luxembourg. We are incredibly grateful for your engagement in #NordicTalks 2017 where the theme of this year’s conference is the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Why did you chose to support this event and how do you find these questions important to Stena Line? As I mentioned, sustainability are an central part of our strategy and something that we focus on throughout the whole company. Our sustainability work is based on the UN Sustainability Development Goals, so for these reasons it feels completely right to be a part of #NordicTalks. How does Stena Line work with sustainability within the organization? Our target is to reduce our negative environmental impact and we have set our targets based on the UN Sustainable Development Areas, Clean Energy, Life under water, Health & Well-being and Responsible consumption. In our daily business around 300 large and small projects are running within our Energy Saving Programme. We are also very focused in looking into future sustainable solutions both for our business and the ferry business as a whole. One example is the Methanol project running on our vessel Stena Germanica, sailing between Sweden and Germany (previously named Stena Hollandica, sailing between Hoek van Holland and Harwich) with the aim to test if Methanol can be a fuel for the future. One part of the trials is also to evaluate Biomethanol to make it possible to fully reduce the emissions also of CO2. Another example is battery propulsion where we are planning to start a project during 2018 with the aim that we within 10-15 years have developed Stena Elektra, a plug-in hybrid vessel. For us sustainability is not only about environmental initiatives but also about care. In February we formally initiated a partnership with the humanitarian NGO Mercy Ships to support them in their efforts to deliver free, world-class health care to people in need in the developing world. They are doing a life-changing work and have since the start treated over 2,5 million beneficiaries. The partnership is exciting opportunity to involve our staff, customers, and partners in making a difference. The 1st of September we launched a coffee campaign onboard our vessels to raise funds to Mercy Ships.
We need to do our own homework to reach the sustainable development goals
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a part of a new universal Agenda that is of highest priority to the Swedish Government. It is Sweden’s ambition to be a leader in implementing the Agenda 2030 – both at home and through contributing to its global implementation. To deal with climate change we need international frameworks and joint efforts by all stakeholders and we need to cooperate, we need multilateralism - but we also need to do our own homework through transformative steps to shift our way of living and move our societies onto a sustainable and resilient path. And these measures are urgently needed! In contrast to the Millennium Development Goals, the SDGs cannot be achieved without far-reaching change in domestic policy and action - also in developed countries like Sweden. Another important difference is the interlinkage of the goals. The Swedish Government therefore recently presented the largest ever investment in climate and environment in the Budget Bill for 2018. An additional 500 million euros will be invested in environment and climate efforts in Sweden and outside our country. It includes major structural investments to adapt Sweden and foremost its industry and transport sector, but it also includes investments so that sustainability becomes a natural part of everyday activities. Examples of this are investments in solar cells, charging points for e-cars and subventions on electric bikes. These measures include country-wide investments to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, adapt to renewable energy and safeguard biological diversity in oceans and on land. Special measures are also being presented to ensure flourishing and sustainable urban areas. “Our generation must be able to pass on to our children a society in which the major environmental problems have been solved and where there are flourishing urban areas with healthy environments to grow up in. A lot remains to be done if we are to succeed with this – investments in sustainable development have been insufficient for far too long," says the Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, Isabella Lövin. I’m very much looking forward to the important discussion on this topic on the 10th of October in the framework of the “Nordic talks”. Per Holmström Swedish Ambassador to the Netherlands [caption id="attachment_2841" align="alignnone" width="187"] Foto: Sören Andersson/Regeringskansliet[/caption]
Charlotte Wolff-Bye, Vice President Sustainability Statoil, Keynote speaker at #NordicTalks 2017 – No time to waste!
Today we proudly announce that we have an additional Keynote speaker to join the #NordicTalks 2017 conference; Charlotte Wolff-Bye!Charlotte Wolff-Bye joined Statoil in 2014 as Vice President Sustainability. She introduced Statoil’s first group-wide sustainability strategy, followed by concrete actions on carbon emission reductions, international climate change advocacy and human rights. She is also Statoil’s representative on the Executive Committee of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative. Previously Charlotte was General Manager, Group Head of Corporate Responsibility for the global steel and mining company ArcelorMittal. During her 7-year tenure at ArcelorMittal she established industry-leading practices in: good governance, stakeholder engagement, human rights and reporting. Demonstrable improvements were achieved in industrial operations across Europe, the Americas, Africa and the CIS. Prior to her career in the extractives and manufacturing sector Charlotte spent a decade in the telecommunications industry holding a number of positions relating to sustainability, most notably with Telefonica and O2. Previous experiences include working in multilateral lending, music marketing and diplomatic affairs. In 2011 Charlotte was entered into the prestigious group – ‘Top 40 under 40 International Development Leaders in London’ by Devex. Charlotte is based in London, where she engages proactively in the public debate on the power of business enterprise in tackling social and environmental issues. Register for this years edition of #NordicTalks 2017 by clicking or by sending an email to email@example.com
André Veneman, Corporate Director, Sustainability Akzo Nobel
Keynote Speaker #NordicTalks 2017 October 10
Sustainability as a driver for shared value
In Akzo Nobel we have embraced sustainability as a value driver, supporting our:
- Core principle
- Brand equity
- Employee value proposition
- Innovation, technology and resource productivity programsWe have a strong conviction that all technologies are present to ensure that by 2050 nine billion global citizens can enjoy decent living standards within the boundaries of one Planet. That’s why we are optimists and why our sustainability strategy is called Planet Possible. However, it is obvious that required changes will not come easy. Our business will have to contribute to a deep transition in those market segments where all energy and raw materials are used: Building & Infrastructure; Transport & Mobility; Consumer Goods; Food & Agri and new Industrial Applications. Over the past fifteen years AkzoNobel has firmly moved sustainability from Integrated thinking to Integrated Business strategy, Integrated Management and Integrated reporting. Definitely all Akzo Nobel managers are familiar with our slogan: Sustainability is business and business is sustainability. As chemicals industry we can contribute significantly in reaching these global goals through our core business activities – providing a new lens on creating long-term and shared value - in economic, environmental and social terms. The context of sustainability is ever changing. More recently the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement have set a clear direction for a more sustainable society. Leading companies have embraced these goals because they provide such a clear compass for business growth and development. The changing world requires that we focus on CO2-reduction in our own processes and across the value chain, radical resource productivity, technical innovation and the production of safer chemicals that improve the quality of people’s lives. Indeed no company can drive this transition alone. Obviously positive change depends on strong partnerships between business partners and end-users. Even more importantly, economic development, employment, circular use of materials and carbon reduction can be further accelerated by new partnerships between the private sector, government, civil society and expertise centers. Generating a great opportunity to make a significant contribution to a sustainable society.
Meet Anne-Wil Lucas, Program Manager Talent, Knowledge & Skills at StartupDelta, speaker during YP 10 Year Anniversary
The Young Professionals of the Swedish Chamber are very pleased to introduce Anne-Wil Lucas, Program Manager Talent, Knowledge & Skills at StartupDelta, who will be speaking during the YP 10 years anniversary about innovation and sustainability! Before joining StartupDelta, Anne-Wil Lucas was a member of parliament for the liberal party in the Netherlands, from 2010 till 2016. In the Parliament, she proposed a startup-bill which led to the founding of StartupDelta. Anne-Wil is passionate about building a sustainable future by paving the way for ambitious entrepreneurs, who can find smarter and cleaner solutions for the grand challenges the world faces.
Don't miss the YP 10 Year Anniversary on September 22, and your chance to be inspired by interesting speakers and learning from each other about innovation and sustainability! Sign up for the event here:
A summer meeting with H.E. Ambassador of Sweden Per Holmström in the lovely garden of the Swedish Residence
A beautiful summer day in July Kerstin and Johanna had a chat with the Swedish Ambassador Per Holmström in his lovely garden about Swedish Chamber adding value to the Swedish Brand name, Trade relations Sweden - the Netherlands, Team Sweden and Young Professionals YP10NL!In what way does the Swedish Chamber of Commerce add value to the assignment of the Swedish Embassy in the Netherlands? We are both part of team Sweden and there is a good reason for that. The Swedish Embassy has a broad task to support and promote trade between the two countries, especially Swedish export and investments in the Netherlands. The Swedish Embassy has well established contacts with official representatives and together with the business network of the Swedish Chamber which is mostly in the private sector, we are able to reach our goal of covering the entire market. How is the Swedish Chamber of Commerce contributing to increase the trade relations between Sweden and the Netherlands? The market itself is mature and it is sometimes hard to reach smaller players that potentially could reach the Dutch market only through government official channels. Therefore, the Swedish Chamber plays an important role with their solid and well-developed network for newly established Swedish companies to become a member and to build their relations and network in their new country. The events and promotional activities of the Swedish Chamber might not show in the statistics straight away but are equally as important as any other work we do to promote the relations because it helps build a long-term and sustainable business society for Swedish and Dutch companies. How is the Swedish Chamber succeeding in enhancing Brand name Sweden in your opinion and how can we improve even more? By offering events and conferences that touch upon sustainability, equality and gender issues, the Swedish Chamber help promote core values that Sweden stands for. The Chamber has hosted several events during the last couple of years that raises these questions and gives a forum for the member companies to elaborate on their thoughts on the subject. A good example is #NordicTalks the annual Nordic event that this year promotes the UN Sustainability Goals. That is a very important topic for Sweden and it relates to many of our values. The Swedish Chamber has also done a great job working with social media and promoting other government officials and public opinion makers who support those values. I see this as a great possibility for more collaboration in the future, working side by side with the Swedish Chamber in our social media presence to promote Sweden. The Young Professionals of the Swedish Chamber are turning 10 years as a network. How important is such a network in your opinion and why is it important to give them our fully support? It is extremely important to offer a forum for our young talents that are pursuing an international career or studying abroad here in the Netherlands. The Chamber does a great job offering activities and special events that are directed towards the interests and needs of the Young Professionals, which are not necessarily always the same as for the member of the Chamber. It is in that age and place in life that one needs support and encouragement to be able to build a good professional network that can be useful throughout the career. What is your advice to the Young Professionals? My advice for all Young Professionals is to think outside the box. Don’t be afraid of failures or making wrong decisions. Mistakes create experience. Network… and have fun! The Ambassador would like to congratulate the Young Professionals of the Swedish Chamber with their 10th anniversary and is looking forward to the celebrations on September 22!