When we run out of potatoes, … we'll simply eat fries, right? Looking back at 2022

Posted on 20 Dec 2022

2022 was a year in which several weaknesses in our complex society became very apparent again. The invasion in Ukraine has caused an energy crisis, in turn highlighting our own dependence. The vulnerability that was already there grew even worse in 2022.

Supply chains that were disrupted during the corona pandemic continued to be affected by lockdowns in China and other geopolitical developments. Repeated increases in interest rates are necessary to curb the sharp rise in inflation, so that the impending recession would manifest itself only mildly. In Sharm el-Sheikh, the mountain bore a molehill: the end result of the 27th UN climate conference, gathering climate experts from around 200 countries, did not produce the desired results. Meanwhile, the summer drought is already fading from our memories, along with the floods of 2021. The realisation that climate change will leave nobody untouched has grown, together with doubt about the feasibility of limiting the temperature rise to only 1.5°.

We need each other

In 2022, it became clear once again that it is not acceptable to want fries when we have ran out of potatoes.  And that will not make it on our own. We need each other in a quadruple way: government, business, science and citizens. Drawing hope from connection proves necessary again. This has also been an important focus at Cleantech Flanders this year. We welcomed many new partners in 2022: businesses who are keen to join us in implementing their innovative sustainable technology, in order to accelerate the speed of our society's transformation. Also, the number of supporting organisations surrounding our cleantech partner companies grew further.

In March, we published our annual Cleantech report, focusing on important trends and developments in the field of cleantech, and specific contributions to today's topics. It should be no surprise that, with the dry summer and current energy crisis, the cleantech domains Energy and Water, received considerable attention.

Investments in Flemish cleantech

Together with Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) and a number of Flemish companies, we participated in the princely missions to the United Kingdom and the United States, and in International Water Week and the CleanEnviro Summit in Singapore. Our involvement in the FIT Export fair in May was successful.

We made use of the proximity to put Flemish cleantech companies in contact with investors at the European Cleantech forum in November in Brussels, and discovered that these investors are searching hard for promising start-ups and scale-ups with good ideas to green the economy. We can look back with satisfaction, because we have offered a number of our partners the opportunity to pitch their offer and raise money.

5 worthy Cleantech Heroes

Our partners in 2022 include 5 cleantech heroes who, as worthy ambassadors for Flemish cleantech, contribute to international promotion: Turbulent Hydro for energy (decentralised energy generation with a hydro turbine), BOSAQ for water, E-Trucks with silent and emission-free hydrogen lorries for mobility, Thiomaterials with railway sleepers and drainpipes made of circular sulphur concrete for circular economy, and finally B4Plastics with biodegradable plastics as a materials hero.

Again in 2022, Cleantech Flanders gave its support to the G-STIC climate action programme, run by the Flemish Government's Environmental Office. Following 13 ongoing projects in 2022, more new international climate projects will kick off in developing countries in 2023.

Cleantech is not the single solution to deal with the various crises, but certainly makes up an inevitable part. That part is up to us. Therefore, at the end of 2022, Cleantech Flanders looks ahead with hope. 2023, here we come!

 

Frans Snijkers
Director Cleantech Flanders

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