What the energy saving obligation will mean for investment decision-making

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New energy saving obligation
The government's Activities in the Living Environment Decree (Bal) and the Building Works in the Living Environment Decree (Bbl) impose a new energy-saving obligation on companies and institutions from 1 December 2023. This obligation means that companies and institutions must implement all energy-saving measures with a payback period of 5 years or less. This applies to sites that use 50,000 kWh of electricity or 25,000 m3 of natural gas (equivalent) per year.
To meet these requirements, companies need to adapt their internal decision-making processes and integrate sustainability into their business strategies. It is crucial that entrepreneurs are aware of these changes and work together with the government to realise a positive impact on the environment and work towards a more sustainable future. 

Impact of the new law

However, the question is how many entrepreneurs are aware of these new obligations and what the additional costs and administration mean in terms of (international) competitiveness. It is important to realise that this could lead to higher costs for products and services. There is also the question of how this is perceived in other European countries.
In terms of enforcement, this could still become an issue, as the new Environment Act was only recently approved in the Lower House and still needs to go through the Senate. With strict enforcement, it is to be expected that companies will go to court because of unreasonableness and lack of clarity. It may also end up on the list of reasons to quit here and continue abroad. For larger companies with specialised staff departments, this may still be doable, but for SMEs it may be a lot more difficult. 

Reasons for the new law

It is important to stress that these regulations emphasise the importance of sustainability and corporate responsibility. Investments are no longer assessed solely on the basis of payback period, but now fall under the category of 'legally required'.
This energy-saving obligation allows companies to effectively contribute to the energy transition and a more sustainable future. It is therefore crucial that companies take these changes seriously and actively cooperate with the government to make this transition a success.