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ISPT Conference 2021: Industry in Society


Dutch industry has a major ambition: to be fully sustainable by 2050, and to meet tough intermediate targets along the way, most particularly in 2030. To do this, it will need to play a leading transformational role. 

But let’s face it: society at large may have some qualms about industry having such a key role. So industry will need to show that it recognizes fully what’s at stake, and that it’s ready to make the investments required and work with stakeholders across the board to make the energy transition happen. 

“We should see heavy industry, not as a big bad polluter, but as an indispensable partner in building a green future.…The Netherlands must pursue an active policy to green heavy industry. It’s time for a green industry policy.”

Evert Nieuwenhuis

To explore these – and other – urgent issues at this watershed moment, we invited representatives from the world of government and politics, as well as from NGOs, SMEs, and industry to share their points of view and join the conversation at our annual ISPT Conference on November 2. The theme this year as “Industry in Society”. 

Part of the program will be in Dutch, though of course questions can be put in English, and every effort will be made to accommodate those who would prefer to communicate in English.

ISPT Conference 2021

We were pleased to line up an impressive roster of speakers. The ISPT Conference was moderated by Dick Weiffenbach, Managing Director at Netbeheer Nederland.

After Dick’s opening remarks, the program kicked off with a video on green industry policy by journalist and researcher Evert Nieuwenhuis, who has worked with the scientific branch of the political party GroenLinks on an ambitious climate plan. 

Each roundtable was reprised and commented on by Jan Terlouw, former politician and a committed advocate of a greener earth. 

Dick Weiffenbach, directeur Netbeheer Nederland. FOTO EN COPYRIGHT HENRIETTE GUEST

Dick Weiffenbach

Managing Director at Netbeheer Nederland

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Before becoming Managing Director of Netbeheer Nederland in July 2020, Dick Weiffenbach was a partner at EY/HVG Law for more than 20 years, where among things he led the Energy division within EY Netherlands and Belgium. He sees the creation of a sustainable energy system as the most important challenge facing network operators.

Evert Nieuwenhuis

Journalist and researcher

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Evert is a journalist, specialised in sustainability and economics. He has worked with the scientific branch of GroenLinks on an ambitious climate plan. 

Jan Terlouw

Former politician and writer

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Jan is a well-known hysicist, former politician, and writer of essays, thrillers, and children’s books. Since as far back as the 1970s, Jan has been actively involved in nature conservation, and in recent years he has been a committed advocate of a greener earth. 


12:30 Coffee and conference registration
13:30 Welcome and opening – by Dick Weiffenbach
13:45 Roundtable 1: green industry policy (plenary)
14:30 Breakout sessions
15:45 Roundtable 2: sustainable energy (plenary)
16:25 Roundtable 3: circulair raw materials (plenary)
17:05 Wrap-up and closure
17:15 Drinks and talks

Roundtable 1: Green industry policy

The first roundtable discussions took its cue from the opening video. The discussants were:

Sanne van Keulen

Director a.i. at the Wetenschappelijk
Bureau GroenLinks

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Sanne is director a.i. at the Wetenschappelijk Bureau GroenLinks (GroenLinks Science Bureau), the think tank for green and left politics.

Donald Pols

Director, Milieudefensie

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Donald has a lifelong commitment to a society in harmony with nature, for the sake both of nature itself and of the society that depends on it. Donalds work on climate justice is animated by the belief that the ambitious climate policy that required will succeed only if it is socially equitable.

David Pappie

Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Climate

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David is director of Top Sectors and Industrial Policy at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate. The Directorate is the primary point of contact between the business community and the government and helps to bring about sustainable economic growth.

ISPT Supervisory Board - Gert-Jan de Geus

Gert Jan de Geus

CEO of OCI Nitrogen

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Gert Jan is CEO of OCI Nitrogen where he leads a number of optimization projects various plants. Prior to that he was responsible for all manufacturing and related activities.

Tjeerd Jongsma

Director ISPT

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Tjeerds directorate focuses on sustainability through innovation in processing. He is convinced that we can meet the great societal challenge of the energy and raw materials transition only if we engage with the private sector.

Breakout sessions

After this first discussion, which was held in plenary session, there was a number of breakout sessions, organized by theme. This gave ISPT’s consortium partners a chance to discuss key issues in person for the first time in a long time (or in some cases, ever). 

Roundtable 2: Sustainable energy

There was a return to the plenary session, for the second roundtable discussion. Discussants were: 

Martine Hoeksma

Energy Transition Program Manager at Shell Nederland

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Since 2019 Martine has been Energy Transition Program Manager, a role that allows her to indulge her passion for contributing to a better environment, and for building constructive relationships with stakeholders along the way.

Yolanda Verbeek

Plant Manager at Uniper Maasvlakte

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Yolanda is Plant Manager at Uniper Maasvlakte, and Managing Director Uniper Benelux. Through both of these roles she is leading Uniper’s energy transition in the Netherlands. 

Benny Bakker

Area Sales Manager for the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Portugal at DMT

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Benny is Area Sales Manager for the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Portugal at DMT, a major specialist in upgrading to biogas and the desulphurization of gas and biogas. The development of new adsorption techniques for CO2 and the further development of BIOLNG have been among his areas of focus. 

Aaike van Vught


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Aike is CEO of VSPARTICLE, which sells equipment that allows customers to manufacture nanoparticles and nanostructured materials. He is also a faculty member at SingularityU Benelux, and in 2019 Forbes put him on his prestigious “Forbes 30 under 30 Europe” list. 

Andreas ten Cate

DirectProgram Director System Integration ISPT

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Andreas is Program Director System Integration. He is passionate about spotting opportunities, developing cutting-edge ideas and bringing them to successful implementation with clear business value. 

Roundtable 3: Circular raw materials

The third roundtable featured the following discussants: 

Eva Helmond

Toekomstonderzoeker at Stichting Toekomstbeeld der Techniek

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One issue that Eva’s research focuses on is how technology can contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She has developed the concept “From smart technology to wise technology” for STT. She believe we need to look beyond GDP if we want technological development to be aligned with the SDGs. 

Jurgen Hoekstra

Vice President Benelux and Managing Director BASF Netherlands

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Jurgen is Vice President Benelux and Managing Director BASF Netherlands. His passion for sustainable innovation and safety is reflected not only at BASF, but also in his chairmanship of Veiligheid Voorop (Safety First), which he has held since November 2019. 

Sascha Kersten

Professor at University Twente

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Prof. Dr. Sascha Kersten is full professor Sustainable Process Technology at the Department of chemical engineering, University of Twente. He is specialized in pyrolysis, oils, water, biomass and wood. As chair of the Academic Advisory Board of ISPT he advocates closer cooperation between academic institutions and industry.

Kim Ragaert

Full Professor and Chair of Circular Plastics at Maastricht University

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Kim is a Full Professor and Chair of Circular Plastics at Maastricht University. Her research centers is polymer science, with a focus on areas as concepts of quality for plastic recycling, the effects of contamination on structure-property relations in plastics, and the economics of different recycling technologies and the footprints they create. 

All in all, the day was marked by candid exchanges, but with a view to forging a meeting of the minds. After all, it’s only when we connect and engage that we can make meaningful change happen. 

And to close: some productive conviviality!

The day was rounded out by drinks, where participants had the opportunity both to network and to exchange views, and – who knows? – perhaps came up with new ideas and opportunities for collaboration. 

Please feel welcome to join our liveblog and share your knowledge, insights, and new ideas on your socials using #ISPTConference2021.