Located at the heart of Europe’s major markets and with one of the world’s highest GDP per capita, Luxembourg’s affluence has grown from being a steel industry giant to becoming a major investment management center.
“Luxembourg is deeply committed to multilateralism and an effective multilateral system,” explains Hon. Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs. “Luxembourg has exceptionally strong political, cultural, and business links with its neighbors. This trilingual country offers a bridge between countries with rather different cultures and business approaches.”
In 2015, the world’s sole sovereign grand duchy launched its development plan focusing upon the promotion of a circular economy and an upgrade of its ecological footprint in all economic sectors, with complete respect and consideration of the planet’s limitations and regenerative capacities. With a cradle-to-cradle approach (C2C) to its projects, Luxembourg has developed a strategic and thriving platform for clean technology start-ups and SMEs, such as sustainable construction, energy transition, water and wastewater treatment, smart cities, and smart mobility. In this way, it has secured the tools needed to fight climate change, protect the country’s natural resources, and promote sustainable finance. In March 2020, it was the first country in the world to make public transport absolutely free and even its prosperous steel industry, headed by ArcelorMittal, is making sure it produces greener products by committing to net-zero emissions by 2050.
“We will further strengthen our efforts in innovation and research for more climate-friendly technologies. The State has a pioneering role in the war on climate change. It must do justice to its exemplary function and show citizens and companies the way towards climate neutrality.”
H.E Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg
The country has continued to diversify dynamically through prosperous public and private collaborations and has invested in research in environmental management, life-cycle assessment, process engineering, and environmental modeling which has, in turn, launched Luxembourg into becoming the important and thriving ICT and sustainable hub that it is today. “In Luxembourg we have an extremely solid digital data infrastructure in place,” confirms Sasha Baillie, CEO of Luxinnovation. Indeed, Luxembourg’s strategy for data-driven innovation has secured it its role as most trusted and secure data economy in Europe and due to its high-end ICT infrastructure, tech giants such as Amazon, Paypal and Rakuten have allocated their European headquarters to Luxembourg. “Luxembourg has invested on content and on companies consuming services such as data centers,” explains Andre Reitenbach, CEO of G-Core Labs. “Luxembourg is extremely suited for IT global companies with its data infrastructure and its location at the heart of Europe.”
Institutes, such as the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), which was founded in 2015 and is a Mission-driven Research and Technology Organisation (RTO) have played an important role in the development of technologies for industries and sustainability. Companies, such as global wellness leader, PM-International, work in collaboration with LIST to ensure the constant promotion of innovative products and services. “We work with LIST and have joint labs with the government,” explains Rolf Sorg, Founder and CEO of PM-International. “This allows us to create a circular system, look at sustainability and have a farm-to-fork concept.”
Luxembourg’s space industry has also been flourishing ever since it became a member of the European Space Agency (ESA) and its role in the space sector has quickly become one of enormous consequence worldwide. In 2016, Luxembourg launched the ambitious SpaceResources.lu initiative whose mission lies in the provision of a unique regulatory business environment for companies interested in exploring and developing space resources. Luxembourg is also the first nation in Europe, and second in the world, to establish a legal framework securing property rights for resources harvested in space. In 2018, the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) was set up to further coordinate national space policies, programs and initiatives and in November 2020, ESA, LSA and LIST launched the European Space Resources Innovation Center (ESRIC), the sole innovation center in the world dedicated to space resources utilization, supporting initiatives from established players and high tech start-ups in order to enable technology transfer between space and non-space industries.
As a nation made up of almost 50% foreigners, Luxembourg is the epitome of diversity and peacefulness; it is this flexibility that has allowed it to move towards new versions of itself and new models of society. “We are an international country and our relations with the Middle East are very important,” affirms Luc Frieden, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce. “Having good relations with all cultures and nations around the world has always been one of Luxembourg’s strengths. Five years ago, we signed a tax treaty with the Finance Minister of the United Arab Emirates. Luxembourg is not only present at the Expo but, a few years ago, we also established a trade and investment office in Dubai. This has continued to strengthen relationships between the Middle East and Luxembourg. A number of Luxembourgian companies are active in the Middle East, particularly in Dubai, and a number of Middle Eastern investment funds, including sovereign funds, are active in Luxembourg. This is the fruit of continuous cooperation between the Middle East and Luxembourg.”
Luxembourg is an example to the world of a country driven by collaborative, ecological, and sustainable policies whose mission to facilitate clean technologies and products is harnessing a healthy, sustainable, secure, and prosperous future; a green and expansive beating heart whose dynamic strength has the power to connect nations and circulate innovation, growth, and hope.