Maastricht held on 8 July the venue for the official launch of the Cradle to Cradle Network (C2CN). In the buildings of the provincial government of Limburg, the European partner regions, the European Commission and numerous stakeholders gathered together for the kick-off.
The lead partner of the project, the Province of Limburg, organised a varied programme with various speakers in the morning and the official signing of the Work Plan. During the afternoon, participants visited several leading Cradle to Cradle examples in the fields of industry and areaspecific development. On behalf of the Province of Limburg and as chairman of the C2CN international executive board, regional minister for the environment Bert Kersten outlined the need to respond effectively to the rapidly increasing changes in our society. A high standard of living for the regions and the Member States can be achieved only if we are aware of those changes and learn to innovate in a way that is responsible from an economic, social and ecological point of view. Healthy buildings, socially responsible products, and proper area-specific development are possible, provided we cooperate within our regions with all relevant partners, be they businesses, designers, research institutions or public authorities. But that is not the whole story. We will have to mobilise the potentials of other European regions, because only by working together we can have a global impact. This is why all the European partners will show what their regions have achieved when it comes to Cradle to Cradle and moreover share this knowledge with each other. Being a fast track project, C2CN has special attention and support from the European Commission. In his video speech European Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Janez Potočnik, underlined the importance of Cradle to Cradle and C2CN. The resource efficiency approach is a subject close to Mr. Potočnik’s heart and a top priority during his mandate. He supports C2CN’s efforts to translate the resource efficiency approach into true added value for environmental protection and competitiveness. Using resources responsibly is key paart of the Europe 2020 strategy, which also promotes life cycle thinking. European regions and member states are highly important in the execution of the strategy. As a conclusion, Mr. Potočnik would like to stress that greening the economy is important since in the long term we all benefit; from less waste, less pollution, fewer health problems and ultimately a better quality of life. Finally, he wished C2CN the best of luck with its initiative!
Advisory agencies VITO and Sustenuto will work on a theoretical framework both at the general level and the target areas level. Mr. Peter Stouthuysen from VITO presented us some preliminary results on the general level. The idea behind writing a theoretical framework is the urge to formulate a common language about Cradle to Cradle; what do we mean by concept, principles and applications?
Moreover, a common introductory chapter for the four perspective studies will be written. Existing literature, practical examples and workshop discussions will form the research material in order to build a common vocabulary and framework to present C2C as one of the basis for sustainable materials management in Europe. Prof. Dr. Eichholtz from Maastricht University ended the morning session with his key note speech on ‘Green Building’. Based on recent research he demonstrated that improved energy performances of buildings go hand in hand with better financial results. However, greater support is clearly needed in order to bring about a sustainable society. Property investors throughout the world are drawing up plans to improve their environmental performances, but the implementation still leaves a great deal to be desired. A Cradle to Cradle product will survive only if the price is not higher and the quality is preferably better than a standard product. The signing of the Work Plan by all ten project partners and the European Commission ended the morning session and formed the symbolic kick off of the Cradle to Cradle Network.
The Province of Limburg organised eight study visits in the afternoon to some of its Cradle to Cradle frontrunners on industry and area specific development. Floriade 2012/Greenpark Venlo, DSM, MOSA BV, Océ, Van Houtum, ENCI, A2 Maastricht, Smurfit Kappa and Belvédère welcomed participants and introduced them into their applications of the Cradle to Cradle concept.