"Invest in sustainability, not dead-end streets..."

Mechelen, 18 February 2020 - "The more we accelerate, scale up and stop unsustainable practices, the more room there will be to make the transition towards sustainability. Invest in sustainability, not in dead-end streets." Hans Bruyninckx, Director of the European Environment Agency, addressed the entrepreneurs at the Clean Vision Summit directly, and successfully so. VITO welcomed 450 participants and hosted 50 expert talks on sustainability topics.

"It's an illusion that we can continue the way we do," Bruyninckx began. He pointed out the complexity of the challenges Europe now faces. "Even if we implement all the measures announced, we will by no means able to achieve the ambitions set out in the Green Deal: a climate-neutral Europe by 2050. We need to step up a gear and further develop and implement as many innovative technologies as possible. But technology is not enough. We also need a change in attitude and behaviour.”

Hans Bruyninckx emphasised the economic aspects of the Green Deal. The European Green Deal represents an opportunity and it is up to the companies to seize it and act on it. Wim Michiels, CEO of Proviron, has already implemented this transition in his company. He spoke about it in front of a full auditorium.

This first Clean Vision Summit is an initiative of the Flemish research institute VITO. "If we want to speed up the transition towards sustainability we need to find ways to get in touch with the user", says Bruno Reyntjens, commercial director at VITO. "Sustainability is inseparably connected with the economy, with companies. That is why a dialogue with companies is so important.”

There was a great turn-out at the event. Participants were introduced to 22 innovations across 7 research areas. 12 VITO experts were challenged during a 15 minute scientific pitch. Visitors were able to get expert advice in the summit business café.

This first Summit was a great success. "I am very pleased," Bruno Reyntjens says. "We have achieved our first goal: setting up a direct line of communication with companies. The Summit has turned out a unique, professional and welcoming meeting place where research and business have found each other.”

Watch the wrap up video and check the infographic below with some key figures.

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