On Wednesday December 19th 2018, Circular Economy frontrunner Noble Environmental Technologies Europe BV (NETE) and Dutch development bank FMO signed an agreement that aims to validate a circular value chain with Indian agricultural crop residue.
Even though Indian farmers are not allowed to burn the stubble that is left on their fields after harvest, in practice, the burning of paddy straw continues. This approach causes serious environmental and public health hazards throughout India, yet it is the quickest and cheapest way to prepare the land for the new season. However, the currently burnt paddy straw has huge potential. ECOR Living Factories turn the material into non-toxic, biodegradable and re-usable panels that are suitable for the furniture industry, amongst others, thereby crafting a circular value chain that creates additional income for Indian farmers, reduces air pollution and combats deforestation.
Under the agreement signed, FMO will make development capital available providing for 50% of the costs of a feasibility study for the deployment of ECOR Living Factories in India. The agreement stems from the INDUS Forum that aims to make all trade and investment between India and The Netherlands sustainable. INDUS Forum is an initiative of the Dutch Embassy in New Delhi and MVO Nederland, Europe’s largest sustainable business network.
The agreement follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in May of this year, as witnessed by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as part of a high-level trade mission to India.
Marten van den Berg, Ambassador of the Netherlands in India, states: “As a European hub for Indian export, the private sector in the Netherlands feels a clear responsibility for sustainable, inclusive supply chains. With the INDUS Forum, we facilitate online and offline business-to-business matchmaking for sustainable business solutions and challenges.” Public-private partnerships that the INDUS Forum stimulates are regarded key to realizing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: “Thanks to ECOR Technology, the financing of FMO and matching on our side with our Indian partners, we can create circular value chains together.”
As Mr. Aart Mulder, Manager Project & Partnership Development at FMO NL Business, describes: “For FMO, this project delivers on two of our objectives: investing in sustainable economic growth in developing economies and to support Dutch businesses in achieving that. We are excited about the cooperation with NETE to investigate the deployment of ECOR technology in India.”
Mr. Eric Logtens, CEO Europe and Corporate Director Circular Economy, reflects: “When I saw the potential of making a meaningful difference with this low tech, highly disruptive technology called ‘ECOR’ 3.5 years ago, I did not hesitate for one second. When MVO Nederland approached us with the INDUS Forum, I immediately said “yes”. Both technology and platform are strong drivers for projects like these, creating a big impact on people, planet and profit, thereby stimulating micro economies (paying it forward). I am proud to be a part of it.”
Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information on this project via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dutch financial newspaper ‘Het Financieele Dagblad’: “Billy bookcases are soon made of paddy straw, at least in India”: