The Dutch EU presidency 2016 – A stronger push for sustainable value chains

The Dutch EU presidency 2016 – A stronger push for sustainable value chains

  • The Dutch EU Presidency will push for more sustainable value chains
  • The ‘EU and Global Value Chains’ conference in Amsterdam is a starting point for a more action oriented framework
  • Our article in the GREAT Insights magazine is highlighting an approach to get there


December is not only a busy time to get ready for Christmas and getting the remaining to do’s at work completed. For the Dutch government it is a particular busy time, as the Netherlands are getting ready for the Presidency of the European Union, that will start on January 1st, 2016.

In the run-up to its EU Presidency, the Netherlands is organising a conference on “EU and Global Value Chains: implementing sustainable business through EU aid and trade policies” in Amsterdam on 7. December 2015, with the participation of EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and high-level representatives of European governments, MEPs, industry, civil society organisations and international organisations.

Right after the Dutch celebrate Sinter Klaas (the equivalent to Christmas), there is sharp focus on what is behind a lot of the goods we buy and use every day: global value chains and the question of making them more sustainable.The new EU Aid and Trade policy is seen as an enabler here and the conference participants will discuss how to move beyond good intentions.

The objectives of what a Dutch EU presidency would like to achieve, are formulated in a Vision paper from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Some experts already show, that there will be a strong push towards action:

“Sustainable development is a cornerstone of the EU’s internal and external policies. And the private sector is a driving force behind it. Stimulating sustainability in global value chains should therefore be central to the EU’s external policies, and to its trade and development agenda in particular.”

“This is a sphere in which we are particularly keen to increase EU policies’ impact on sustainable development by enhancing the sustainability of global value chains.”

“To conclude, the growing significance of global value chains is forcing EU policymakers to tackle more complex sustainability challenges than ever before. Given the contribution that sustainable
global value chains make to many countries’ prosperity, the EU’s external policies need to reflect the crucial importance of global value chains and responsible business conduct. This will be a topic of debate at the events organised during the Dutch EU Presidency.”

Not only because of the high-level profile of speakers and panelists from all over Europe, but specifically for the intention of the conference it will be interesting: how can multistakeholder collaboration help to make value chains more sustainable, ie. how do we get from thought to more action and tangible results.

In my article for a special issue of the GREAT Insights magazine of the European Centre for Development Policy Management, I highlight the concrete steps to increase multistakeholder collaboration and to get more companies to adopt programs that drive sustainable value chains. A Podcast with more details will be available shortly.

I am excited to join the conference and hope to see not only a good discussion, but also concrete next steps to get the job done. As always, we are not only there to support the discussion but to get the job done.

Please follow our social media streams for updates from the conference.