Education & science

Education and science are the basis of a healthy economy. Shortages on the labour market can be countered by good and targeted education. Knowledge institutions therefore play a crucial and connecting role in the cooperation between governments and companies. They also contribute to the economic development of a region. Universities and colleges are more than just ‘suppliers’ of talent to the labour market. They contribute to innovations in all major societal challenges around sustainability, circularity, digitalisation and healthcare.

 

Public Matters advises knowledge institutions on triple helix cooperation and strengthening their position in both The Hague and Brussels. Such developments often take place at the interface between the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate. Whether you are a national educational institution, a science association or a school association, we will be happy to help you further shape the representation of your interests.

 

In addition to providing strategic public affairs advice, the advisors of Public Matters can help your people and organisation further towards the most relevant policy makers and provide hands-on support where necessary. The expertise in various sectors is applied to bridge the interests of various stakeholders from business, provinces, municipalities and knowledge institutions.

 

Examples of how we support(ed) clients in Education and Science:

  • Advising on the positioning of organisations towards the ministry, often taking into account the dependent relationship that sometimes exists;
  • Hands on support in contacting members of parliament in order to bring issues to the attention of the people;
  • Developing a lobby strategy – aimed at influencing (new) policy;
  • (Further) embedding of Public Affairs within the organisation;
  • In-house support for National Growth Fund;
  • Advising on triple helix cooperation in the Brainport region;
  • Advising on reorienting cooperation between vocational education and the business community;
  • Holding workshops on lobbying and public affairs for knowledge institutions.

Infrastructure & transport

Sustainable mobility

Public Matters advises clients throughout the mobility sector. These are companies in public transport, aviation, maritime sector and (micro/partial) mobility. For clients in these sectors, the sustainability issue is central to our support. Public Matters plays an active role in the issues regarding the hydrogen economy and what this means for the maritime sector. In addition, we advise companies on regulations for biofuels.

Investments in infrastructure and mobility are long term. This also requires, for example, a long-term vision when lobbying for co-financing from the MIRT or the Growth Fund.

The impact of digitisation has played an important role in our support for micro-mobility and shared cars. With the emergence of platforms, artificial intelligence and big data have provided a better match between supply and demand. At the same time, governments and regulators are still struggling with the regulation of platforms and the facilitation of the sharing economy. Issues of privacy, security and data ownership play a major role in this. Public Matters is familiar with the dynamics between international tech companies, national decision-making and local regulation.

Investments in the mobility sector are long term. The impact on the physical environment ensures that large groups of stakeholders influence policy and political decision-making. This makes stakeholder management essential for issues concerning Schiphol Airport, the ports and public transport. Stakeholder management is an effective way to influence the decision-making process. Public Matters navigates clients through the complex playing field of Brussels, the public debate, regulators and local decision making.

Examples of how we support clients in the mobility sector

  • Advising on labour market issues for the maritime sector;
  • Advising on EU biofuels regulations;
  • Stakeholder management on aviation policy (night flights);
  • Supervising market introduction in micro-mobility;
  • Advising on local regulations for shared vehicles;
  • Supporting applications for co-financing of infrastructure development;
  • Advising on adapting ‘old’ regulations to accommodate new technologies;
  • Facilitating stakeholder dialogue and advising on stakeholder management;
  • Conducting force field analyses for parties in public transport.

Construction & real estate

The spatial challenge

The Netherlands faces a major spatial challenge. The balance between the required construction of houses, the related traffic infrastructure, the construction of sustainable energy sources, and nature conservation must be continually sought. In addition, the nitrogen crisis has put extra pressure on spatial choices.

Whereas in the past decades, spatial policy was decentralised, we now see a demand for more direction from the national government. Public Matters looks at spatial issues from multiple perspectives due to our expertise in the mobility sector and industry.

Local stakeholder management plays an important role in spatial issues. This means involving local parties at an early stage and thinking out-of-the-box about external stakeholders. Careful stakeholder management contributes to public support for developing projects.

We advise various clients in the construction sector on sustainability issues. For example, approximately 40% of CO2 emissions are caused by the building environment. The sector therefore faces a major challenge. These include the sustainability of building materials, the shortage of raw materials and the need for a more circular approach.

The real estate sector was particularly affected during the COVID-pandemic. For many institutional real estate investors, this meant extra attention to stakeholder management towards tenants. Public Matters also advises on the business climate for real estate companies, focusing among other things on tax regimes, such as the fiscal investment institution (fbi).

Examples of how we support clients in the construction and real estate sector

  • Advising on local and regional real estate development projects;
  • Supporting stakeholder management and media relations;
  • Advising on the sustainability of building materials and the circular economy;
  • Supervising public affairs activities of a sector association regarding good tenancy;
  • Facilitating a stakeholder dialogue on fire safety inspections;
  • Advising on the representation of interests of fiscal investment institutions.

Climate & energy

Does your organisation consider the energy transition as an opportunity or a threat?

Public Matters offers strategic public affairs advice to established companies, start-ups, NGOs, local authorities and government agencies in anticipation of the changing energy landscape. Whether you’re looking to influence European directives, understand the development and implications of the Dutch Climate Agreement or build local support for new initiatives, we’re the number one public affairs agency in the Netherlands.

Our experienced consultants have expertise in energy and mobility, sustainability, the circular economy, supply chain and CSR policy, construction and property, sustainable finance and many more areas.

Our government relations consultants will be happy to use their knowledge and network to assist you by:

  • Developing public affairs strategies, stakeholder analyses and political communications campaigns to influence energy, environmental and mobility policy.
  • Advising on negotiations concerning energy policy or the realisation of energy projects, such as the Dutch Climate Agreement, wind and solar PV projects.
  • Managing stakeholders in Brussels, The Hague or more locally to secure your organisation’s licence to operate or to put your green start-up on the map.
  • Conducting reputation surveys among key stakeholders who determine ‘green policy’.

Public Matters’ consultants have a diverse range of experience: from sustainable energy generators to ETS companies, and from environmental NGOs to associations in the food industry.

Public Matters is a member of the pioneers’ network (Koplopersnetwerk) of CSR Netherlands, the centre of excellence for Dutch companies striving for corporate social responsibility (known in Dutch as MVO Nederland).

Public sector

Do you think that professional public affairs support is only for companies?

Public Matters proves otherwise. We have always been providing support to ministries, provinces, and municipalities, but also regulators and public-private partnerships.

This often involves specific public affairs challenges, regarding which the political and policy environment often plays an important role, both internally and externally. With our professional outside-in perspective, we advice on realising the best possible internal organisation and the development and implementation of the most effective strategy. Our advisors use their extensive political and policy experience to provide our clients with the best possible service.

Examples of how we support clients in the public sector:

  • Advise on organisational structure to maximise effectiveness of your public affairs;
  • Formulate strategy and key messages for the policy/legislative process;
  • Develop stakeholder mapping – including relevant positions and public affairs actions;
  • Advise on media strategy and cooperation with like-minded stakeholders;
  • Provide public affairs training to increase knowledge and skills of clients.

Food & retail

Navigating the complex playing field of interests

Sustainability, food safety, health, international trade, market power, transparency – these are topics that frequently attract attention from consumers, NGOs, politicians and the media. The entire chain – from food producers, suppliers and distributors to retailers – is called upon to account for these issues. Perceptions and facts are often mixed up, which requires the right approach to public affairs and communication.

We advise companies, industry associations and organisations on creating and implementing strategies to communicate ideas and views, gain support, influence policy and strengthen reputations. In doing so, we always keep a keen eye on the stakeholders, the decision-making process and which organisation is best placed to do the talking. That may be your own organisation, but sometimes a coalition is more effective.

Examples of how we support clients in the food & retail sector

  • Positioning the company as a sustainable player in the food chain;
  • Developing a long-term strategy to manage sensitive issues;
  • Advising on implementation of European regulations;
  • Formulating an approach to manage collective interests (e.g. via a sector organisation);
  • Drafting a media strategy and spokesperson line.

Financial services

The financial sector is more subject to change than ever before

While changes in the financial sector were gradual in the past, over the last 10 years the impact of legislation and regulation on the financial sector has been greater than ever. Also, the public trust and reputation of companies and executives is receiving more attention. At the macro level, a new balance between regulation and entrepreneurial freedom is sought. At the micro level, profitability and innovation are high on companies’ agendas. And precisely in a heavily regulated sector such as the financial sector, this sometimes leads to tensions. These are partly caused by the changed societal context in which companies operate – for instance, with respect to tax legislation that is increasingly determined and coordinated internationally. With all the consequences this has for the competition between countries – for example, with regard to the investment and business climate.

All in all, there are many threats and opportunities to be taken into account when weighing interests to determine a company’s or sector’s strategy. Public Matter’s consultants will be glad to help you achieve this. All the more so because, since our lobby agency was founded in 2001, we have developed extensive knowledge of this sector, its policymakers and influencers.

Examples of our public affairs support for clients in the financial sector:

  • Managing (un)desirable company takeovers and mergers;
  • Advise on how to manage the fiscal/state-aid process (in the Netherlands / The Hague, Brussels and beyond);
  • Contributing to the tax policy agenda and Tax Plan with regard to specific policy measures;
  • Manage stakeholder networks at times of crisis when the reputation of a company and its leadership are a matter of debate;
  • Develop a strategy and key messages that is distinctive from the competition with an eye for the sector’s interests;
  • Make sense of policy developments in the financial sector in the short and long term.

Technology

Disruptive technological developments

Rapid technological developments such as in cloud services, advertising, artificial intelligence, ‘Internet of Things’ and augmented reality, touch every aspect of our lives and have led to many new companies, services and business models. These developments affect almost every sector – from finance to energy, healthcare to transport, education and agriculture – and often have a disruptive impact.

Policy frameworks to regulate new developments

These new developments put the public affairs and lobbying capacity of organisations to the test, as they require new policy frameworks for instance to regulate matters such as privacy, audiovisual services and taxation. In addition, changing market relationships within (digital) sectors often lead to greater conflicting interests, which is reflected in more intensive lobbying towards policymakers.

In policy development for the digital economy, we see several examples of the administrative and political search for a new balance: between large and smaller players, between traditional and new business models, and between consumer interests and growth potential.

Good examples are the online advertising market, app stores, online marketplaces, the taxi, retail and hospitality sectors, which are being turned upside down by new players and for which the new market relationships are partly determined by (new) policy.

We advise various companies that are active in the tech sector or are directly affected by technological developments on the following activities, among others:

  • Developing a public affairs strategy aimed at influencing (new) policy;
  • Positioning vis-à-vis policymakers and other players in Brussels, The Hague and at local level;
  • Formulating key messages focusing on the policy-making or legislative processes;
  • Building coalitions between stakeholders with shared interests;
  • Organising stakeholder dialogues with relevant players.

Healthcare

Healthcare affects us all

Everyone is affected by healthcare; from patients to insurance companies, and from healthcare professionals to companies. Healthcare is one of the most complex policy domains in the Netherlands, both in terms of the number of stakeholders and the sheer volume of policy involved. It is also a sector that is changing fast and where public and private are closely intertwined. Everyone has an interest in public resources being spent efficiently and in the choices made to achieve this goal. That means that there are lots of partnerships in the Dutch healthcare sector, but also that the interests of stakeholders can be diametrically opposed.

The provision of healthcare is not the sector’s sole concern; innovation, partnerships and social responsibility are also important factors. So in this sector, a systematic, proactive and long-term approach to public affairs is particularly crucial. That way, you can do justice to your organisation’s interests vis-a-vis the broader public interest.

Public Matter’s consultants will be glad to help you achieve this. All the more so because, since our lobby agency was founded in 2001, we have developed extensive knowledge of this sector, its policymakers and influencers.

Examples of our public affairs support for clients in the healthcare sector:

  • Position a sectoral interest vis-a-vis the Dutch parliament, ministries and the media;
  • Develop strategy and key messages for the policy-making or legislative process;
  • Realise a dialogue with the relevant stakeholders;
  • Analyse the current state of the sector, including updates on the latest policy developments;
  • Anticipate future changes and long-term developments in policy;
  • Organise meetings to help develop a vision and build support.