This site uses cookies that need consent. Learn more

The importance of subsidies for sustainability

The world is facing a huge challenge in reducing the ecological impact of our activities. We are confronted with the consequences of climate change in the news on a daily basis. Governments, companies, research institutions, and citizens must work together to mitigate these consequences. In this blog, I would like to take you through the importance of subsidies for sustainable development and share some of the common factors that successful projects have.

Afbeelding met gras, windmolens, wolken en blauwe lucht, decoratief.

The role of innovation

Technological innovation is a central theme within the Climate Accord, as new applications are needed in all sectors to achieve the goals of the Climate Accord. Themes that are addressed include climate and energy, circular economy, and smart mobility, but projects that contribute more broadly to these missions are also eligible for subsidies.

Governments, research institutions, and companies must work together to achieve these goals, and subsidies are an important tool. Subsidies provide investors and entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop and demonstrate new technologies. Many sustainable innovations require large investments and have a long payback period. Subsidies can remove obstacles by relieving financial burden and reducing risk.

Successful projects have the following in common:

  1. They have a concrete, measurable impact on climate goals.

  2. Projects distinguish themselves from alternative products on the (inter)national market.

  3. There has been knowledge sharing between research and market.

Furthermore, promoting knowledge sharing through collaboration between SMEs, large companies, and research organizations is central. This will lead to sustainable and marketable technological innovations being brought to market faster and contribute to accelerating towards a low-carbon economy.

Sustainable innovation subsidies in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, there are various subsidy options. These provide financial support for research and development, implementation, and roll-out of sustainable technologies. They target different sectors, including energy, agriculture, transportation, and the built environment. I would like to highlight a few here:

The Energy Top Sector focuses on reducing CO2 emissions in industry. If you want to map the technical or economic risks of an ambitious sustainability project, you can investigate the feasibility of your project with the TSE industry studies. With the Demonstration Energy and Climate Innovation (DEI+), you can then receive support for demonstrating a low-carbon production process or for experimental development.

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF, EFRO in Dutch) is a fund that supports sustainable projects through the four regions (North, East, South, and West). The two priorities in this program are a smarter Europe and a greener Europe. This can encompass innovation in the areas of (renewable) energy, energy efficiency, agriculture & food, and health, with the overarching goal of digitization & security.

There are many projects that have used subsidies to realize sustainable innovations. Some examples are:

Project Goal
Heat plan Utrecht A district heating project that uses residual heat from data centers to heat homes and buildings
Green Deal Greenport Venlo Making the horticultural sector more sustainable
Zero-Emission Bus project Putting electric buses on the road in various Dutch cities
North Sea Wind Power Hub Building an offshore wind farm in the North Sea for increasing the country's renewable energy capacity
Bio-based Economy project Developing biobased products and technologies
The Circulair Raw Materials project Promotion of reuse and recycling of raw materials


Subsidies are a critical part of realizing sustainable innovations. They lower financial barriers and reduce risk for companies and investors, enabling the development and implementation of sustainable technologies. Various grants are available, both at national and European level, targeting different sectors. Projects that receive financial support have an impact on the climate objectives, are distinctive and have been established through knowledge exchange. Examples of successful projects that have used grants prove that they can play an impactful role in the transition to a more sustainable future.

Do you have ambitious sustainability plans and would you like to explore the possibilities together? Do not hesitate to contact us to exchange ideas!

Foto van Joost Jansma.

This is Joost, Consultant Sustainability!

I am driven to make an impact and optimistic in my quest for a fairer and more sustainable society.

Send Joost a message