What you buy here has an impact on the environment worldwide

If you buy items from a cheap store here, you will have an effect on the greenhouse gas footprint in another country with that purchase. Perhaps you do not realize that many choices you make have consequences for people on the other side of the world. Goods imported here naturally produce money and jobs in the country of production, but also put pressure on the environment.

The greenhouse gas pressure, an indicator of the influence of Dutch prosperity abroad, increased last year. with 8 percent and that's bad news.

The growth of last year is mainly in the import of fossil energy carriers and metal ores. A relatively large amount of CO2 is emitted during the extraction of these substances. This is shown by the Wide Prosperity Monitor, an investigation into the welfare of the Netherlands by Statistics Netherlands and was presented to the House of Representatives this morning.

The Netherlands is in the lower regions of the European environmental ranking. The high input of raw materials, as mentioned above, also does not work with this. Our raw material footprint is relatively poor: we are in 18th place in Europe. However, the footprint has somewhat decreased after 2010: from more than 11 tonnes to more than 8 tonnes in 2016.

Our raw materials footprint can be nuanced because the figures also include re-exports. There the goods that enter our country via Rotterdam and are subsequently imported are also covered. However, after a correction for re-exports, the Netherlands is also in the rankings of the bottom ten countries.

Natural resources

The Netherlands is putting a lot of pressure on those natural resources anyway. This is partly due to Shell, which is very important as a multinational for the Dutch economy, but also because of our colonial past. Research shows that colonial superpowers mainly import a relatively large amount of raw materials from developing countries. The trade areas on which a country has specialized in the past will remain fairly constant over the long term.

The starting point is, among other things, that our prosperity does not exhaust natural resources. may cause, says Minister Wiebes of Economic Affairs and Climate. He acknowledges that the Netherlands uses a lot of raw materials and has relatively high CO2 emissions.

For Wiebes it is a foregone conclusion that the Netherlands should do something about it. By signing the Paris climate agreement, the Netherlands has also committed itself to taking measures, says Wiebes. “We have a duty to clean up our own garbage and not to shift it to other groups in the world or other generations.” The figures from Statistics Netherlands show him that he is once again.