Ground-breaking Ex'tax report

28 Nov 2014

Yesterday, a ground-breaking study was presented at the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) to an audience of 100 representatives from the European Union, Dutch Government, businesses and NGOs. 

The report New era. New Plan. Fiscal reforms for an inclusive, circulare economy. Case study the Netherlands was officially presented by HRH Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme to representatives of EU Directorate General Environment and the Dutch ministry of Environment.

Former Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende received the report on behalf of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition. Mr. Peter Bakker of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the organization that represents 'the voice of business' in international climate negotiations, was also present to receive a copy of the book.


FLTR: Koen de Snoo (Director Sustainability, Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment), Jan Peter Balkenende (Chair, Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition), Peter Bakker (President, World Business Council for Sustainable Development), Femke Groothuis (Director, The Ex'tax Project), HRH Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme, Aurel Ciobanu-Dordea (Director Implementation, Governance and Semester, European Commission's Directorate-General for Environment). 


Keynote speaker Mr. Feike Sijbesma, CEO of Royal DSM, conveyed the message to the audience that the world is changing rapidly and that businesses need to adapt - and soon. Water scarcity, widespread poverty, hunger and climate change are among the major challenges of the 21st century. Businesses have an important role to play in solving these issues, by contributing to clever solutions and social development.

Many great sustainable business models are being developed, but as labour is highly taxed and pollution and resources are relatively tax-free, sustainable products and services have a competitive disadvantage in the current system. The report New era. New plan, according to Mr. Sijbesma sends a clear message that changing the tax system is key to an inclusive, circular economy.


Mr. Feike Sijbesma (CEO Royal DSM)


Professor Paul Ekins (UCL) shared with the audience the economic modeling that has been performed on the proposal towards green tax reform. The research, as well as practical experience, have shown that tax reform creates environmental and economic benefits and likely increases employment. As the director of the UK Green Fiscal Commission, Prof. Ekins has thoroughly researched opportunities to shift taxation in the UK. These studies came to the same conclusion.  

Mrs. Femke Groothuis of The Ex'tax Project presented the results of the study conducted in cooperation with tax experts of Deloitte, EY, KPMG Meijburg & Co and PwC. The study describes the rationale for a tax shift and the extensive literature on the topic. It includes a Policy Toolkit and a € 33.7 billion scenario for the Netherlands. 

During the Q&A session, led by the moderator Professor Klaas van Egmond (UU and former Director of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency), the audience was able to ask questions to a panel that included the speakers as well as Mr. Aurel Ciobanu Dordea (Director DG Environment, European Commission).

Council president Mrs. Mariëtte Hamer, stated that the SER, as advisor to the Dutch Government and Parliament, is planning to include the relation between taxation and the circular economy in next consultations. 


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