Dutch companies and organisations call for a sustainable coalition agreement
A broad alliance of companies and organisations (such as Vodafone, Ziggo, Arcadis, FNV, Alliander, Erasmus University, Natuur & Milieu, Geelen Counterflow, Tony’s Chocolonely en Cordaid) are asking that the Sustainable Development Goals have a central place in the coalition agreement. They drew attention to this by handing over sustainable chocolate bars to the negotiators, as “food for thought” during the negotiations.
The signatories of this call are pushing for a sustainable coalition agreement in which policy complies with the Sustainable Development Goals, a coalition agreement with a tax shift from labour to resources and with a full budget for development cooperation. A central focus on the SDGs will make the Dutch economy more competitive and will contribute to a better society. This call is an initiative of De Groene Zaak and Partos.
All policies should comply with the Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015, the Netherlands committed to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, in order to tackle together global issues such as poverty, public health, inequality and climate change. This new development agenda applies to all countries. It implies, for example, introducing more climate friendly agricultural practices in developing countries, but also addressing our own ecological footprint. A focus on the SDGs in the coalition agreement means that the new government should make sure that all new policies contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.
In the official appeal, the alliance points to the importance of achieving these goals:
“This alliance of companies and social organisations cannot emphasize enough how important the SDG-agenda is for the future of our society and of the coming generations. It’s important for societies worldwide, but also for a resilient Dutch economy and a healthy Dutch society, as an integrated part of the global context.”
Tax shift for a sustainable economy
The current fiscal system is still more of an obstacle for the Dutch economy. Labour is relatively expensive in the Netherlands, while the use of fossil fuels and other raw materials is quite cheap. As a result, creating new jobs in the Netherlands is somewhat expensive, while we do need more jobs. In addition, pollution and waste of resources should be strongly discouraged. The new government can reinforce this through a tax shift from labour to resources. As the labour costs go down, the tax on raw materials - such as fossil fuels - will rise. This tax shift will encourage the creation of new jobs and it will foster sustainable innovation. After all, it pays off to think about smart solutions to reduce waste and pollution. This way we create the adequate conditions for a sustainable economy and the Netherlands contributes to the SDGs. Several organisations, such as the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (het Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving - PBL) and Ex’tax have done studies on tax shifts from labour to resources.
Development cooperation: reverse the trend
The Netherlands is not immune to what is happening across its borders. Development cooperation actually gives hope and the prospect of a decent life. Impressive progress has been made in the fight against poverty: the percentage of people living with an income of approximately 1 euro per day has halved, more children go to primary school and far fewer women die during childbirth. These accomplishments were possible due to Dutch investments in development. Therefore, this alliance calls for the new government to return to a full-fledged development budget and thus also to concretely contribute to the foreign policy for the achievement of the SDGs.