Planet in Transition

On the occasion of the DC Planet in Transition Symposium and the subsequent DC E-Mobility Brunch, the Diplomatic Council Benelux Team introduced approaches, conceptions and solutions for a sustainable world economy. Both events took place during the 40th World Port Days in Rotterdam.

“Let´s make our planet the number 1 priority” (Dominique van Hemelrijck)

Dominique van Hemelrijck, in her main profession a specialist for priority management and Head of DC Benelux, provides the direction for the future: “Let´s make our planet the number 1 priority”. Amongst the speakers were Prof. Dr. jur. Helmut Maurer, EU Commission, DG ENV, Senior Expert, Nico van Dooren, Program Manager Port of Rotterdam Program “Energy Transition”, Francesca Miazzo – Co-founder Cities Foundation, Chris Heiligers – Co-owner EC Rent, Jouke Baarda, Sustainability Expert and F. Breeman, CEO BMW Rotterdam.

Sustainable economic system

Prof. Dr. jur. Helmut Maurer, representative of the European Union, gave a clear statement: “Lastest since World War II. it has become obvious that the world population will not grow linearly but exponentially which means consumption will increase accordingly. This development cannot come to any good because our planet is limited. Hence, the world economic system has to be adopted to this development and in light of the exponential growth, there is not much time left for action”.

New DC name tags – a recycled product

Bernard Merkx, Board member DC Benelux and Chairman of Waste Free Oceans Foundation, explains: “If a product can be manufactured from waste, it would be irresponsible to produce it with new materials.” Merkx surprised all guests with a new generation of 3D plastic name tags made of thrown-away PET bottles perfectly fitting the DC Status Cards.


The Diplomatic Council will support the Waste Free Oceans (WFO) and WWF event taking place in Hong Kong in October 2017. At this one-day event, domestic fishers will sail with their boats through the bay equipped with trawl nets and collect plastic out of the water which shall be used as manufacturing materials for new products. The new products can be sold by the fishers against payment. The target of this event is to encourage fishers to “fish for litter” with the benefit of earning money while at the same time protecting the fish resources and environment.

Club of Rome

In addition to the partnership with WFO and WWF, the Diplomatic Council is about to start a collaboration with the Club of Rome. Pierrick Fillon-Ashida, one of the nine board members of the Club of Rome, attended the DC Symposium. DC Benelux Advisory board member Patrick Crehan is named DC representative to the Club of Rome in Brussels.

“Make Waste to Products” (Bernard Merkx)

At the symposium, an App was introduced that offers textile, plastic, glas and other waste. Manufactures can easily purchase this “waste” to produce new goods.

Sustainability Program for Port of Rotterdam

Nico van Dooren, Director for Energy Transition of the Rotterdam Port, informed at the symposium that over 90% of the energy used for the operation of the port is fossile. He introduced the Port’s program “Pathway to a decarbonised Port” which includes various projects to convert to renewable energy.

“New approaches for sustainability” (Steef Korfker)

Steef Korfker, Chairman of the Diplomatic Council E-Mobility Forum, provided the official shuttle service during the 3-days world port days. Only electric cars were used for the shuttle. Korfker’s company NL Mobility is specialized in e-mobilty.

DC Tesla Brunch

The DC Benelux Team organized a cosy brunch the day after the symposium including an excursion with Tesla cars. During the ride, the group visited several universal power charger stations offered by NL Mobility. The stations can be used by e-cars of all producers – from BMW to Tesla. Steef Korfker points out: “We need an ecosystem for E-Mobility. The cars are on the market and the charging stations available. Now we have to build a cross-vendor infrastructure.”

Priorities for new ideas

“We need new ideas and business models which give high priority to sustainability”, says Dominique van Hemelrijck. Prof. Dr. Helmut Maurer agrees: “It must become rewarding again to produce goods that last long and are repairable instead of manufacturing cheap throw-away products”. “Our future lies in the combination of sustainable products, which after their long utilization cycle can be recycled and the transition from fossile to renewable energy”, explains Secretary General Hang Nguyen.