Sustainable & inclusive entrepreneurship

Aligned with our agenda for foreign trade and development cooperation, the Netherlands strives to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth at home, in developing countries and worldwide. These efforts are aligned with international climate agreements as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out by the United Nations.

Creating enabling conditions and measures for inclusive growth will boost the global efforts in achieving sustainable developments in economic, social and environmental objectives. The Netherlands has extensive knowledge and experience in climate adaptation, climate change mitigation and circular economy. Combined with a strong track record in promoting corporate social responsibility and public-private cooperation, the Netherlands can significantly contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth in other countries. Areas of attention for sustainable and inclusive growth worldwide include:

  • International climate action
  • Mobilising the private sector for the SDGs
  • Digitalisation
  • An integrated approach to value chain sustainability and corporate social responsibility
  • Investing in a future-proof trade and investment system

All sub-themes


Climate change presents itself in many ways. Rising sea levels, changing weather patterns and severe droughts affects all countries. Taking concrete climate measures today will benefit us all: increased food security, healthier cities, and business opportunities.

Water, energy and food nexus

The increasing impact of climate change and population growth on natural resources require us to address challenges related to water, food and energy in an integrated manner. This nexus is critical for sustainable development and the security of these three resources.

Circular economy

The world is facing complex social and environmental challenges. The Netherlands strongly believes that a transition to a circular economy is key to achieving the SDGs. Current ways of production and consumption are not sustainable and with the current take-make-waste approach the planet is facing its boundaries. A change is needed.

Healthy living

Rising living standards and improvements in healthcare and technology mean that people are living longer. Cooperation between multiple disciplines is crucial in order to create measures and innovative solutions that enable healthy living and save people’s lives.

Smart mobility

With increasing rate of urbanisation, mobility and quality of life is becoming an urgent issue. The Dutch government works closely together with international business and research communities in developing innovative technologies to solve mobility, environmental and safety issues.

Smart cities

The concept of Smart Cities is a continuous journey, not a final destination. As our cities change at such a rapid pace, it is difficult to predict what citizens would need and wish for in the upcoming 30 years. The Netherlands believes that the only way to boost sustainable urban development and build inclusive and future-proof cities, is by working together and learning from each other.

Data innovation

Automation today increases in all aspects of society. This means that vast amounts of data can be gathered and analysed to create new possibilities in addressing societal issues, such as energy efficiency, food production, medical services, healthcare and climate change.

Secure society

In modern society, security covers a broad range of topics. Resilient societies have the appropriate means in place to anticipate unforeseen threats in such a way that the core fabric of society remains intact and functioning.

Top sectors

The Netherlands strives to create integrated joint solutions across sectors through partnership between government, companies and research and knowledge institutions. This approach, known as ‘Triple Helix’ is proven to be successful. To maintain top-level engagement in helping the world to solve global challenges, all businesses in the Netherlands are engaged in the following ten key sectors nominated by the Dutch government: agriculture & food horticulture water and maritime energy high tech creative industries chemical industries life sciences and health logistics ICT

Chemical industry top sector

The Netherlands’ chemical sector makes up part of the formula for creating solutions to cope with the world’s challenges. Many of them require multi-disciplinary and cross-sector cooperation. That is why the chemical sector works together with the other ten top sectors and across borders to achieve affordable healthcare, food security, sustainable energy, transport solutions, climate resilience and sufficient resources.