Stories about sustainability are usually very fluffy. But during our Energy Transition event on 12 December 2023, we were impressed by the hard headed story of Stef van Hout, Strategy & Transformation Director at Nobian. Nobian is one of the biggest carbon emitters in The Netherlands, and Stef told a group of Sweavers about their decarbonization journey.
The event turned out to be timed well, given the recent agreement on transitioning away from fossil fuels at COP28 (28th session of the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties in the UAE) and the changing dynamics in Dutch politics after the elections in November 2023.
Nobian is one of the frontrunners on decarbonization in the Dutch heavy industry with the ambition to accelerate decarbonization by 10 years and reach ‘net zero’ already by 2030. To get there, Stef shared his roadmap, covering a wide range of intertwined topics like decarbonization initiatives, new business models, changing political climate, government subsidies, project financing and private equity internal rate of return.
Here are three key takeaways of our sustainability event:
- Sustainability initiatives in the heavy industry generate high impact results as companies in this industry are major emitters;
- For a successful energy and sustainability transition it is crucial to have a reliable and stable government policies, and a clear vision for investments and focus areas; and
- Sharing knowledge and experience from the heavy industry emitters can be used to design new sustainable business models, e.g. storing of carbon and hydrogen in the underground salt caverns or building natural batteries.
As explained by Het Financieele Dagblad, Nobian is the first major industrial emitter that reached a so-called 'joint letter of intent' to obtain a green government subsidy with the Dutch ministry. A prerequisite for this was a positive assessment of the technical, business and financial components of the sustainability plan.
We are proud to have supported Stef’s team at Nobian in this work through our freelance strategy consultants Jurgen Sirks. Supporting Nobian was Jurgen’s first interim strategy consulting experience via the Sweav network. “Having found this engagement via Sweav has been an exciting and fulfilling experience. I could not have imagined the real impact this project will have on the transition of the Dutch heavy industry, and I’m very happy and lucky to have been able to apply my strategic skills in this manner.”
At Sweav, we will continue working towards a greener, cleaner, and more sustainable future.