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Can Horticulture become a CO2 neutral industry?

The question is no longer if horticulture will become CO2 neutral by 2050 and whether the sector can get the job done, but which steps are needed to get there. This was the outcome of a Dutch working conference held by Kas als Energiebron ("Greenhouse as Source of Energy") on June 30th. Growers, horticultural consultants, suppliers, local governments, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and environmental organizations consulted with each other on the agenda and priorities to achieve a CO2 neutral horticulture.

Main conclusions
The main conclusions of the conference are: horticulture is definitely heading for CO2 neutrality in 2050. The coming years will mainly revolve around continuing knowledge development with all parties involved in CO2 neutral horticulture. Entrepreneurs and the network around them are seeing plenty of opportunities to invest in CO2 neutral operations. This includes an active and involved environment.

Cooperation is the key to taking major steps in the implementation of innovations and the use of appropriate instruments. The instruments mainly mentioned are heat and CO2 networks in the greenports, accelerating geothermal projects, necessary reconstruction of horticultural areas, modernization of greenhouses and a business model for crops with a low CO2 footprint.

Solid foundation
Nico van Ruiten of Dutch greenhouse horticulture organization LTO Glaskracht, summarized it as follows: "There is a solid foundation of knowledge in the area of cultivation and techniques for the sustainability and saving of energy. Also important is the presence of the drive of entrepreneurs and organizations to follow through. They want to continue investments in sustainable business operations, as long as the conditions for this are created. So together we must get this done. Implementation of new technologies is fastest in new greenhouses. This renewal of greenhouses is continuing step by step anyway. Kas als Energiebron 2.0 will have to give a lot of attention to the implementation of instruments for sustainable greenhouses in the coming years. This requires collaboration and knowledge sharing with all parties involved in the greenports and at a national level."

Solid foundation
Louise Veerbeek of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, also backed the renewal of cooperation. "Horticulture is doing very well compared to other sectors. It is the only sector that has already managed to comply with the agreements made with government on CO2 emissions. These positive results provide a solid foundation to continue with Kas als Energiebron. Concrete agreements will be made between the ministry and the business community about Kas als Energiebron 2.0 in the fall."

CO2 neutral horticultural sector
The outcome of the working conference calls for agreements on both renewal of energy targets and an agenda for implementation in the coming years. During the conference a great drive was shown to make a success of a CO2 neutral horticultural sector.

source: Kas als Energiebron
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