If we want a sustainable, future-proof economy, we need to close material cycles. For a number of crucial raw materials (e.g. phosphate for food production or the critical metals and rare earth elements in technology for renewable energy) Flanders is completely dependent on imports from a limited number of countries, which are sometimes geo-politically unstable.
Through an extensive system of waste collection, sorting and recycling, Flanders has become the global leader in the field of waste treatment over the past thirty years. The existing knowledge, facilities and legislative framework allow Flanders to realise the shift to sustainable materials management. Through more sustainable design of products, more efficient production, more repair and reuse of products, waste prevention and state-of-the-art recycling, we reduce the impact on the environment, we promote innovation, entrepreneurship, growth and employment, thereby making our industry more competitive.
To achieve this transition to sustainable materials management, which is necessary for Flanders, OVAM launched the public-private Flanders' Materials Programme in 2012. The Flanders' Materials Programme was launched to streamline the multitude of public and private initiatives in the field of sustainable materials management.
In the Flanders' Materials Programme, ambitious long-term vision development, policy research and action in the field are combined. This is done in the respective contexts of Plan C, the Policy Research Centre for Sustainable Materials Management (SuMMa) and the Flanders' Materials Programme Agenda 2020, three pillars that strengthen each other.