Business Case


EcoShape has participated in 9 pilots, in varying degrees of technology readiness levels. This also reflects in the business case of each projects: some have had the primary aim of knowledge development and have received corresponding (non-mainstream) funding. Other projects have been integrated in regular infrastructure agendas: to substantiate the rationale for investment in these projects, their attractiveness in comparison to conventional alternatives had to be assessed.

In an overarching note we summarize results and lessons-learned on:

  • The decision making process in each project and the role of the business case to support this process
  • Financiers and their motivation
  • Procurement and contacting

In the factsheets, more can be found on business case aspects and lessons learned from each pilot.

Lessons-learned from pilots

The objective of this analysis was to gather the lessons learned from EcoShape projects regarding business cases, financing, procurement and contracting. The information used to write the document, is gathered from a document review, questionnaires filled in by (EcoShape) project leaders, interviews/e-mails for more in-depth information and results from the Menti-meter in the Grand Finale meeting (16 July 2020). Due to the limited amount of interviews, however, it is not the aim of this document to give a complete story. The results show the experience from 9 EcoShape pilots: The Mud Motor, Houtrib Dike, Marconi, Clay Ripening Project, Soft Sand Engine, Marker Wadden, BwN Indonesia, Hondsbossche Dunes and the Delfland Sand Engine.

One key lesson learned about Business cases in EcoShape pilots is that not all EcoShape pilots used a business case. The business case can play an important role in realizing project funding, but the selected type differs per (potential) investor. However, when the urgency to reduce flood risk is high, a business case seems to be less important to secure project funding. A possible enabler for implementing BwN in a project is an evidence base for the effectiveness of a BwN approach, including risks and uncertainties.

For financing an EcoShape pilot another lesson learned is that most EcoShape pilots have more than one financer. Most of the funds come from the Dutch state government. The financers of EcoShape pilots have a large range of motivations to invest in BwN: Flood safety, knowledge development, nature development, spatial quality and recreation, economy and water quality. Most of the financers have more than one reason to invest in BwN. There are still some barriers to overcome in the funding for EcoShape pilots, like specific fund conditions which limit the scope of a project. There are also some requirements to get funding for EcoShape pilots: co-finance from a private and public party and aligning project objectives with government ambitions. Last but not least; a (local) ambassador who promotes the Building with Nature project can be very helpful in getting this done.