Ecosystem services South Holland Heineken

Green Circles is a collaboration between Heineken Netherlands, the province of South Holland and Wageningen Environmental Research, who are working together to make the region a global example of green economy and sustainable area development.

The impetus for this collaboration is the development of Heineken Brewery Zoeterwoude into a climate neutral business. This brewery, at the edge of the Groene Hart, is the largest in Europe and wishes to be climate neutral prior to 2020. This offers the region and its interested parties the ideal opportunity to become more sustainable, stronger and more future-proof.

Green Circles connects the improved sustainability of the Heineken brewery with the knowledge of Wageningen Environmental Research and the provincial ambitions regarding the spatial environment, water, mobility and the economy. This creates an economically powerful company within an attractive environment for living, working, business and recreation.

A sustainable society depends on renewable energy sources and organises its material streams in cycles comparable to a natural ecosystem. Therefore, ecosystem services are at the heart of Green Circles, whereby nature is connected to private and public interests.


To create a sustainable region, several areas must be worked on simultaneously. Green Circles chooses for the strategy: start small, end big. The partnership focuses on five themes:

  • Theme 1: Stimulating sustainable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Theme 2: Ensuring the availability of sufficient clean water
  • Theme 3: Closing raw material cycles
  • Theme 4: Increasing the sustainability of mobility and logistics
  • Theme 5: Improving the living environment and strengthening biodiversity

Most important products/knowledge to be realised by the public-private partnership

  • A way in which a large company with roots in the region can play a role as innovator in socially supported nature and landscape management.
  • Insight into the added value of the collaboration between Government, Industry and University for achieving social innovation in spatial development.
  • Insight into the conditions under which the self-regulating supply and demand of ecosystem services develops.
  • Insight into the added value for the economy and the welfare of the collective and the large-scale development of ecosystem services by investment in the landscape.
  • A method for combining investments from private and commercial sources for nature and the landscape; insight into the motivations for investment.
  • An operational approach for the application of ecosystem services as the basis for sustainable area development.