The Benelux countries meet the Greater Region: striving towards territorial cooperation and synergies!

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Carlo Thelen, CEO / Director General, Chamber of Commerce, Brigitte Torloting, Vice-President of the Grand Est Region, Corinne Cahen, Minister for Greater Region, and Alain de Muyser, General Secretary of the Benelux Union.

Synergies and positivity were the two main messages of the 2nd day of the Benelux Circular Economy Business Forum, to which more than 150 participants assisted. The multiformat event was organised on 4th and 5th October 2022, by the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and its Enterprise Europe Network, together with the Benelux Union and in close collaboration with the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy, the Luxembourg Ministry for the Greater Region and “Betriber & Ëmwelt” of the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology.

The Benelux Circular Economy Business Forum was at its core a synergy and meeting platform to discuss best practices and exchange knowledge. Its second day, dedicated to the territorial cooperation between both economic microcosms, enhanced this goal of synergies with a rich programme of activities: pitching sessions, mini exhibition with stands, a successful matchmaking event, as well as an onsite visit to the Innovation Hub Dudelange. 

How can circular economy benefit from crossborder cooperations to flourish? A country cannot act alone to make a significative impact. It is therefore important to pool efforts together and create regional initiatives to create integrated cross-border value chains.

Mr. Carlo Thelen, CEO / Director General of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce opened the discussions by reminding the audience of the importance of acting in unity to face the difficult challenges put in the way of the transition to circular economy models. Crossborder initiatives are a must in that sense, and the Chamber of Commerce proves to be very active to foster good international collaboration. Carlo Thelen underlined: “There are many concrete initiatives and I remain convinced that a strategy of intelligent cross-border collaboration, fuelled by exchanges and sharing of skills, will enable us to move forward towards the digital, sustainable and energy transition underway.”

Guest of this second day, the Greater Region was represented by Ms Corinne Cahen, Luxembourg Minister for the Greater Region, who insisted on the need to collaborate even further on all levels, bringing the debate to the European Union. "The Greater Region and the Benelux have an impressive ecosystem of companies and actors in research, education and innovation. The transition to a circular economy requires a holistic, cross-border and European approach, we have a lot to gain by sharing our best practices across borders and strengthening our cooperation."

The official session would not have been complete without giving the floor to the region which holds the Presidency of the Greater Region Summit. Ms Brigitte Torloting, Vice-President of the Grand Est shared her priorities. “There are fields of research where one country can do nothing, we must work across borders. It is our duty as a community to support these reflections: it is a complete change of thinking, of paradigm, and we must support our citizens and our companies, and I think we will succeed if everyone invests a lot.

Mr. Alain de Muyser, Secretary General of the Benelux Union, highlighted the potentials for synergies between the two cooperations: “Both the Benelux and the Greater Region put the focus on reciprocal awareness of concrete projects, in order to link up the relevant actors and bring our ecosystems closer together“ and stressed the need to avoid duplication or reinventing the wheel, for instance the Product Circularity Data Sheet (PCDS), which could become a standard both within the Benelux and the Greater Region.

To go deeper into the subject of circular economy in the Greater Region, and how it can benefit from the collaborative initiatives taking place in this crossborder cooperation, convivial and inviting exchanges took place in the form of a round table by experts, highlighting strong collaborations in place and with the promise of new ones, in order to tackle urgent issues:

  • For Luxembourg, Mr. Charles-Albert Florentin, Cluster Manager, Luxembourg CleanTech Cluster, and Mr. Paul Schosseler, Director Sustainable Construction & Circular Economy at the Luxembourg Ministry of Energy and Spatial Planning,
  • For Wallonia, Ms Charline Martin, Circular Economy Project Manager at Greenwin,
  • For Saarland, Dr.-Ing. Flavio Soldera, Managing Director European School of Materials at Saarland University and Senior Researcher Materials Engineering Center Saarland,
  • For the Grand Est-Region, Mr. Bertrand Simon, Head of European Cooperation Programmes Department at GRAND e-NOV+,
  • And for Rhineland-Palatinate, Dr. Wolfgang Eberle, Chairman of the WG “Circular Economy” of the Summit of the Greater Region, Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy and Mobility.

Insightful discussions on the various topics of circular economy, and most of all about the cooperations already in place in the Greater Region promised great success to develop in the short and mid-term.

A successful matchmaking event, pitching sessions & Mini-exhibition: Discover some of the Benelux & Greater Region’s best practices!

Throughout the preparation of the event and on the spot, participants have had the possibility to connect and exchange to discover themselves and find partnerships together. The Benelux Circular Economy Meetings by b2fair® concretised 176 meetings during the two days of the event, without counting the convivial networking that naturally took place for everyone.

A dynamic session of pitches took place twice during the event, an energetic occasion to listen to interesting and challenging summaries of fascinating circular economy projects in the Benelux and the Greater Region. Startups, companies, national or crossborder collaborative projects could, under the pressure of a gong and timer, highlight their valuable contribution in making circular economy happen.

During the two days of the event, a mini-exhibition with informative stands was available, on the spot and digitally, to showcase good examples of innovative products, services and solutions. Luxembourg, the Benelux and the Greater Region have interesting private and public projects which are important to put in the spotlight as well.

The startup Our Choice Fashion (LU) recalls that the networking at their stand of the mini-exhibition has been helpful and what is the most important is to reconnect with the ecosystem, to see new faces. The startup Sustainer (NL) traveled to assist to the entire event, pitch and animate a stand as well. The pitches are a nice opportunity to give visibility to practical and concrete solutions already in place. General Technic (LU) had a stand, delivered a pitch and were speaker during the 1st day thematic workshop on industry. The SME received interests on how they managed to efficiently and sustainably incorporate circular economy in their business model.

Showcase of Luxembourg’s promising ecotech ecosystem: a visit to the Innovation Hub Dudelange

Luxembourg is a fertile ground for startups to grow, and a particularly good example of interesting initiatives are found at the Innovation Hub Dudelange. The startup incubator was born thanks to the city of Dudelange and Luxinnovation, and was officially launched in 2018. It incubates promising ecotech startups, active in different fields of sustainability and circular economy, and they all have partnerships with the City of Dudelange, which has made efforts to become an example of a sustainable city.

The delegation of the Business Forum got to meet the promising following startups:

  • RSS Hydro: using remote sensing, earth observation, computer models & drones to operate across geospatial fields for a more sustainable & resilient future.
  • WeThink: products and services such as ecobags, wooden products, smart lighting systems, among others for the public sector.
  • WeCare: sustainable cleaning, offering cleaning products and services to the public sector.
  • Demain Autrement: sustainability consulting by an experienced and active expert, also a member of IMS – Inspiring More Sustainability.
  • Kidola: integrated solution for daycares to manage communication with parents. 


Want to relive the event?

Presentations of the speakers and the brochure of the Innovation Hub Dudelange are available for consultation below.

Did you miss the event or want to relive the programme? Check:

  • the article about the first day dedicated to the Benelux priorities in terms of circular economy here.
  • and the replay of the Business Forum available on the Go International Showcase!



The round table about synergies in terms of circular economy in the Greater Region allowed very fruitful exchanges to be led.
The delegation in front of the Innovation Hub Dudelange, having met the promosing ecotech startup incubated there.
The dynamic and timed pitching session was an opportunity to listen to concrete solutions offered in the Benelux for circular economy to thrive.
The mini-exhibition could showcase interesting crossborder and sustainable projectsin the Benelux and the Greater Region to the audience, a nice way to network.