Initiated by the Ministry of the Economy in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce and IMS Luxembourg, the strategic study on 'the third industrial revolution' was presented on 14 November 2016 at the Luxembourg Sustainability Forum 2016, in the presence of the main players involved in the project, including Minister of the Economy Étienne Schneider, Director General of the Chamber of Commerce Carlo Thelen, President of the Chamber of Commerce Michel Wurth, and President of IMS Luxembourg Christian Scharff, as well as the American prospective economist Jeremy Rifkin.
Third industrial revolution is starting in the Grand Duchy
The economy gets smart
What is referred to as 'the third industrial revolution' is in fact a development on a national scale that affects every aspect of everyday life. According to this model, developed by Jeremy Rifkin, information and communication technologies (ICT) - i.e. communication tools, the Internet, the Internet of Things, etc. -, renewable energy and new means of transport ought to converge in a smart network. The aim of the strategic study commissioned by the Government and carried out using a participatory approach in collaboration with Jeremy Rifkin and his team of experts is to make the existing economic model more sustainable and interconnected. The Grand Duchy is the first country to embark on this on a national scale.
Representing every socio-economic sector, more than 300 people were actively involved for a year, taking part in nine working parties focusing on the challenges regarding energy, mobility, construction, food, industry, finance, the smart economy, the circular economy, and the 'prosumer and social model'.
All the information on a single site
The result of the process takes the form of a full, detailed, 475-page study that reviews the country's socio-economic characteristics and proposes real actions and tools, including a range of strategic measures and projects for preparing the country, its society and its economy for embarking on the process of its 'third industrial revolution'. There is also a summary of the study which sets out the main challenges and their economic implications, as well as a summing-up of each of the nine themes, with an indication for each theme of the five main strategic measures that are considered to have priority. Both documents can be downloaded at http://www.troisiemerevolutionindustrielle.lu/.
Road map drawn up
Following the presentation of the study and its results, and coordinated by the Minister of the Economy, the Government will organise a large-scale consultation of the principal institutions, including the Economic and Social Council, the Higher Council for Sustainable Development, and a number of organisations and platforms representing young people, such as the Youth Parliament. This involvement will then lead to a final consultation debate on the study at the Chamber of Deputies.
The Government will set up a mode of governance that takes into account and coordinates the various needs of all the parties involved, so that there can be a discussion on any measures that could be adopted as a result of the proposals made in the study.
The legislative, regulatory and technical measures to be adopted and any flagship projects to be carried out will be discussed on platforms that already exist (such as the National Council for Sustainable Construction and the High Committee for Industry) or are to be created (such as the Smart Energy Luxembourg platform); this will allow prior discussion and mutual understanding among the stakeholders concerned. The composition of these structures varies according to the themes they address; their functioning tends towards the principles of public-private partnership.
In his address, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Étienne Schneider announced that work will start on implementing the following measures and projects:
- construction of a national energy Internet;
- promotion of electrically-propelled mobility and launch of a programme for emission-free personal vehicles;
- gradual introduction of mobility as a service, which represents an ecosystem for sustainable mobility in which individuals, using a multimodal approach, select a combination of modes of transport best suited to their everyday needs;
- carrying out of a flagship project to demonstrate the socio-economic contribution made by smart, sustainable, circular neighbourhoods/towns;
- establishment of a road map for sustainable food production based on transparency and trust;
- development of co-implanted technological platforms for industry and public research;
- setting up of an intermediation platform for financing sustainable development (the Luxembourg Sustainable Development Finance Platform);
- implementation of an infrastructure offering the necessary capacity in the field of high Performance Computing (HPC);
- promotion of the circular economy by public contracts.
A national monitoring committee, composed of representatives of the ministries concerned by 'the third industrial revolution' and the 'Digital Lëtzebuerg' initiative and representatives of the social partners, under the responsibility of the Ministry of the Economy, will ensure the general coordination of the post-Rifkin process.
A forward-looking partnership
Minister of the Economy Étienne Schneider said, "The results of the study constitute a general guideline for the country's future development. The presentation of this study is not the end of a process; rather, it constitutes the start of the launch of the work to implement the first concrete measures that will permit a better quality of development for the Grand Duchy."
Director General of the Chamber of Commerce Carlo Thelen said, "The Chamber of Commerce will adjust the services it offers businesses, if necessary offering new tools, in order to enable businesses to be successful in taking up the challenges involved in digitisation and energy transition. The House of Entrepreneurship will play an important role in this, particularly by providing a framework for start-ups with promising business models."
IMS (Inspiring More Sustainability) President Christian Scharff said, "As an active partner in this strategy, IMS Luxembourg has played its role of inspiration and catalyst for change. What is being unveiled today is a tangible action plan. The key element is the construction of a resilient and sustainable economic model for the Grand Duchy."
(Source: press release from: Ministry of the Economy / Chamber of Commerce / IMS Luxembourg)