Dutch Employers' Federation (VNO-NCW)

InfluenceMap Score
for Climate Policy Engagement
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Climate Lobbying Overview: The Dutch Employers' Federation (VNO-NCW) appears to state top-line support for climate policy with some exceptions on specific regulations, becoming increasingly supportive in recent years. While it broadly supports EU and Dutch climate ambition, its engagement with policymakers on the Dutch carbon tax and the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) reform tends to be more negative.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: VNO-NCW’s top-line messaging on climate policy appears to be broadly positive. In a March 2023 news release, VNO-NCW appeared generally unsupportive of climate change regulation, citing concerns of disruptions of the international playing field from extra levies and obligations. However, in a July 2021 press release, the association stated support for the EU Fit for 55 package and in a news release from January 2023, VNO-NCW stated support for the implementation of the Environment and Planning Act in the Netherlands. The association seems to support the UN Paris Agreement, stating support for the US rejoining the treaty on the corporate website accessed in January 2021.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: VNO-NCW seems to not fully support specific climate regulations. In a February 2022 opinion piece in the news outlet Het Financieele Dagblad, the Chairwoman Ingrid Thjissen stated support for the Netherlands’ 2030 GHG target of 55% emissions reductions by 2030.

However, the association consistently advocated against a national carbon tax in the Netherlands between 2018 and 2021. For example, on its corporate website, accessed in May 2021, it stated that a CO2 tax would risk investment and endanger jobs in the Netherlands. Despite repeatedly supporting the EU ETS over a national carbon tax, VNO-NCW appears to have mixed engagement with policymakers on the legislation. In a February 2021 public consultation response, the association did not support many proposed reforms to increase the carbon price and effectiveness of the EU ETS, including opposing a reduced number of free emissions allowances and not supporting strengthening mechanisms, such as the Market Stability Reserve. However, in a July 2021 press release, the association seemed to support a higher carbon price in the EU ETS. In a February 2021 public consultation response, VNO-NCW appeared to support the continuation of carbon leakage protection measures in the EU ETS, such as the free allocation of emissions allowances, alongside the implementation of a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism in the EU until 2030, a position which is misaligned with the EU Commission.

VNO-NCW does not seem to support EU-level energy efficiency legislation, an article published by Trouw in October 2022 reported that the association supported exemptions from national energy saving obligation schemes for heavy industry by suggesting these companies were already regulated under the EU ETS. VNO-NCW appeared generally supportive of renewable energy legislation in 2021-23. In letters to Dutch policymakers in February 2023, and November 2022, and in a February 2022 opinion piece in Het Financieele Dagblad by Chairwoman Ingrid Thijjsen, the association supported the expansion and acceleration of renewable projects in the Netherlands. However, on the corporate website accessed in February 2021, VNO-NCW appeared to support the weakening of the EU Renewable Energy Directive by suggesting it should be opened up to include low-carbon technologies.

Positioning on Energy Transition: VNO-NCW appears to take mostly negative positioning on the energy transition away from fossil fuels. In a letter to Dutch policymakers in November 2022, the association appeared to support the scale up of renewable hydrogen targets and production in the Netherlands. However, a VNO-NCW press release from November 2022 was unsupportive of the phase out of Dutch financing for fossil fuel projects abroad by 2023, suggesting the government should wait to align with other countries’ policies. The association stated support for diversifying Europe’s energy mix away from a dependency on Russian fossil fuels through the expansion of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) infrastructure in the Netherlands as well as the extended use of coal power stations in a press release from July 2022, and in a May 2022 press release supported increasing gas production in the North Sea. In a press release from September 2022, VNO-NCW opposed a Dutch purchase tax on diesel delivery vans from 2025 stating that the ban would have little effect on CO2 emissions reductions. The association was opposed to the reduction of flights at Schipol airport in a press release in September 2022 and a tweet in March 2023. In a February 2023 press release VNO-NCW supported the EU Green Industrial Plan but critiqued the US’s Inflation Reduction Act suggesting it harms the EU’s competitiveness.

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