Combining forces for sustainable development in the North Sea
Colruyt Group is a co-founder of and driving force behind the Blauwe Cluster (Blue Cluster). This association is the reference for sustainable development in the Belgian North Sea, with a focus on ecological coastal protection, balanced seafood and renewable energy. Participation in this initiative offers us many opportunities for renewing our product range and making it me sustainable.
We stand stronger together
The Blue Cluster (Blauwe Cluster) is primarily a think tank and innovation platform for sustainable development in the Belgian North Sea. It is a partnership of private companies (from SMEs to major industrial players), the seaports, the relevant authorities and knowledge institutions including VLIZ (Flanders Marine Institute). The Blue Cluster allows these parties to combine forces to start, facilitate and coordinate projects within the ‘blue economy’.
The Blue Cluster facilitates sustainable projects in the North Sea and helps member companies to accelerate their growth and meet international challenges.
The association was officially recognised as a ‘spearhead cluster’ by the Flemish government (Vlaio, the Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship Agency) mid 2018. The platform received additional resources and is now the central point of contact for anyone who wants to undertake sustainable development in the North Sea. This recognition has given the platform a boost and has provided a broadly supported vision for the maritime challenges of the future.
First Blue projects launched with Colruyt Group
The Blue Cluster has completed its first year of projects with as many as 15 approved projects for 2019. In total, this represents an investment of approximately 24 million euros, of which 16.8 million euros comes from the Flemish government. More than 40 unique companies are involved in the projects, 40% of which are SMEs. From Colruyt Group, we participated in 2 business-driven test projects and 3 projects for fundamental research with longer-term valorisation for aquaculture and renewable raw materials.
Stalwart of the Flemish Economy
Colruyt Group invests heavily in the sustainable development of renewable energy at sea. The relatively new activities such as energy supply, blue bioeconomy, offshore aquaculture, ecosystem services and smart use of materials complement the more traditional activities of fishing, port activities, coastal tourism and shipping. Together they form the Blue Economy, accounting for an estimated direct added value (or prosperity) of 7.21 billion euros, which means that the direct impact of the Blue Economy accounts for 2.8% of Flanders' gross domestic product.
Through the Blue Cluster, Flanders plays a leading role in the blue economy.
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.