Meet the new board member: Marlou Leenders from Randstad

Meet the new board member: Marlou Leenders from Randstad

Meet the new board member: Marlou Leenders from Randstad

Randstad is the global leader in the HR services industry. They help people to find jobs and shape their careers through innovative solutions and services. They operate in over 38 countries with over 40 thousand employees.

Marlou Leenders, the new board member of Global Compact Network Netherlands, is the Global Head of Sustainability at Randstad. In her role, she is responsible for the overarching sustainability strategy. With KPIs and target planning, her goal is to help Randstad contribute to a more positive society with their services.

Marlou Leenders

Marlou Leenders

Global Head of Sustainability, Randstad Group

Randstad and their sustainability journey

Randstad joined UN Global Compact in 2005. Since then, they have continued their partnership with the hopes of solving global challenges through systemic approaches. Companies must collaborate with other organizations, governments, NGOs, and various stakeholders to achieve these goals.

“UN Global Compact is valuable in bringing different parties together. As a global organization, they share a similar approach that aligns with our global vs. local approach, where our companies can focus on global themes while working towards local challenges.”

Randstad focuses on 5 SDGs: 4- Quality Education; 5- Gender Equality; 8- Decent Work and Economic Growth; 10- Reduced Inequalities and 13- Climate Action. Their main contribution lies in SDG 8, where they can help society thrive by bringing people to the right jobs and jobs to the right people. In doing so, they can promote inclusivity within the recruitment process.

Leenders chooses to focus on 5 of the 17 SDGs. Although they are all important, specialization is the best way to make the most impact. At Randstad, Leenders finds it counterproductive to take on more SDGs that are not within the focus of Randstad already. By matching Randstad’s KPIs to UN Global Compact’s Principles, they can elevate their impact and become the global leaders for those 5 SDGs.

“Don’t wait, and don’t ask for permission.”

Leenders her advice to other professionals is: “Don’t wait and don’t ask for permission. Just go. Everybody can make an impact and be sustainable, no matter what kind of job We need everyone. We don’t need more sustainability managers, but we need good sustainable procurement officers, accounting personnel for ESG reporting, and facility managers to help make buildings more sustainable. Find the sustainability angle within your role and find like-minded people to create a snowball effect. Find people who are just as motivated, and then start from there.”

Leenders’ personal sustainability journey

Leenders feels the need to help individuals on a personal level. Through their partnership with Tent, Leenders is a mentor for a refugee from Turkey. She helps her navigate through the Dutch labor market, specifically on the mentee’s needs, for example, how the interview process works in the Netherlands and how firm your handshake should be. This mentorship allows Leenders to connect with the mentee and learn about her stories, strengths, and difficulties she has faced in their life.

Meet the new board member: Marco Barsoum from Sparks Production

Meet the new board member: Marco Barsoum from Sparks Production

Ontmoet het nieuwe bestuurslid: Marco Barsoum van Sparks Production

Sparks Production is een Social Enterprise dat structurele oplossingen ontwikkelt voor sociale uitdagingen. Door middel van onderzoek, concept ontwikkeling, strategisch management en implementatie adviseert Spark Production private en publieke partijen over hoe je effectief en innovatief je maatschappelijke ambities kan realiseren.

Marco Barsoum, het nieuwe bestuurslid van Global Compact Netwerk Nederland, is de Oprichter van Sparks Production. Vanaf een jonge leeftijd is Barsoum al gepassioneerd over hoe hij kan bijdragen aan maatschappelijke uitdagingen, mensen in zijn omgeving kan helpen en het bestrijden van ongelijkheid. Met Sparks Production wil hij een nieuwe perceptie creëren van ‘een succesvol bedrijf’. Een perceptie dat sociale impact gelijk is aan financieel rendement. Zijn doel is om met methodieken een innovatieve manier van ondernemen te bewerkstelligen die de sociale impact voorop stellen.

Marco Barsoum

Marco Barsoum

Founder, Sparks Production

“Mijn doel met Sparks Production is om de structurele aanpak te veranderen in hoe we sociale kwesties en uitdagingen bestrijden. Door duurzame concepten te integreren in onze strategie, kunnen we projecten creëren die maatschappelijke voordelen hebben en op de lange termijn bijdragen aan maatschappelijke uitdagingen.”

Sparks Production hun bijdragen aan de maatschappij

Barsoum wilt klein-, middel en grote bedrijven die gefocust zijn op financieel rendement, helpen met de transitie naar een meer mensgerichte aanpak. Het doel is om een toegankelijke en langetermijnstructuur te ontwikkelen voor industrieën om bij te dragen aan mensenrechten.

“For the community, within the community”

Voordat een impactvolle oplossing word ontwikkeld, willen Barsoum en zijn collega’s de community beter begrijpen en inzicht krijgen in hun ervaringen en behoeften. Vaak is het zo dat de ervaringen van degenen die in bepaalde sociaal-economische posities leven, verschillen van de behoeften en ervaringen van degenen die Sparks Production probeert te helpen.

“Een van onze uitdagingen is om de ‘’taalbarrière’ tussen de twee werelden te overbruggen – want het zijn twee verschillende werelden. Zodra we de behoeften van de gemeenschappen kennen, kunnen we die ‘vertalen’ in het bedrijfs-‘jargon’, de taal van de mensen die deze veranderingen kunnen doorvoeren.”

De SDG’s zijn niet eendimensionaal

Bij Sparks Production focussen ze zich op de sociale SDG’s. Elk project heeft een specifiek doel, bijvoorbeeld om ongelijkheid te verminderen. Hiernaast draagt Sparks Production ook bij aan het bevorderen van SDG 4; kwaliteitsonderwijs, SDG 1; geen armoede en SDG 3; goede gezondheid en welzijn.

“Privé leven, wat is dat?”

Barsoum ademt SDG’s in zowel zijn persoonlijke als professionele leven. Misschien een beetje te veel, want het balans tussen werk en prive vervaagt wel eens. Zijn vrienden kunnen zijn vastberadenheid om de wereld te veranderen waarderen, maar ook gedurfd. Hoe dan ook, zij begrijpen zijn passie en streven ernaar een vergelijkbare bijdrage te leveren.

Wat Barsoum’s passie voor verandering heeft aangewakkerd, is zijn nederige opvoeding. Hij had geluk met ouders die hem aanmoedigde en ondersteunde. Hierdoor kreeg hij de kansen om te komen waar hij nu is. Hij gebruikt deze privileges om zoveel mogelijk terug te geven.

Denk aan de toekomst

Barsoum’s advies aan bedrijven en young professionals: “Denk aan de toekomst, denk aan het jaar 2030. Kijk naar de markt en realiseer je dat er een generatie is van mensen die zich bewust zijn van en kennis hebben over de toekomst. Deze jongeren willen weten welke invloed de producten die zij consumeren hebben op de planeet en de mensen om hen heen. Als bedrijven nu niet beginnen met het veranderen van hun processen, zal de markt voor hun producten op de lange termijn afnemen. Wij zijn allemaal verantwoordelijk voor onze planeet en wat we consumeren. Je hoeven geen grote acties te zijn, begin bij jezelf en in je omgeving en maak lokaal het verschil.”

Meet the new board member: Andrea van Dijk from Invest-NL

Meet the new board member: Andrea van Dijk from Invest-NL

Meet the new board member: Andrea van Dijk from Invest-NL

Invest-NL is a Dutch government-owned venture capital, impact investment firm that finances innovative scale-ups looking to transition to a low-carbon economy or develop innovative technology.

Andrea van Dijk, the new board member of Global Compact Network Netherlands, is the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Officer at Invest-NL. Van Dijk, alongside the Invest-NL impact engineer, works on developing ESG and impact investment policies, measurable frameworks, and KPIs for every investment.

Invest-NL and their sustainability journey

Invest-NL’s most significant impact is through their investments. Every investment has a clear impact rationale that is measurable and reportable. Therefore, SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 13 – Climate Action links to Invest-NL’s carbon neutrality and circular economy objectives.

“While our impact investment agenda clearly links to the SDGS, our ESG process refers more to the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles. We want to focus on doing things the right way. Once we decide that something is a suitable impact investment, and this investment clearly contributes to our transition towards a carbon-neutral economy, we encourage the investee company to implement sustainability principles at all company levels.

Andrea van Dijk

Andrea van Dijk

Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Officer, Invest-NL

Invest-NL invests in small to medium enterprises with very ambitious growth plans. Van Dijk’s role is to ensure all those growth plans have a sustainability agenda. By joining Global Compact Network Netherlands’ board, van Dijk hopes to get an in-depth overview of the various initiatives for SMEs that want to contribute to sustainable development but might not have the means to do so.

For example, an innovative battery technology that replaces critical materials. We want to ensure that the people creating those batteries work under safe labour conditions. e manage that investment’s environmental, social, and governance risk factors by asking the right questions and encouraging them to professionalise their sustainability management.”

Van Dijk explains that creating diversity within investment teams is an important priority for Invest-NL’s own sustainability journey. There is a clear willingness to promote more diversity in investment teams. However, there is still a practical challenge where there is not enough diversity within the pool of potential new colleagues. Invest-NL seeks to provide solutions for these challenges through bias training during the recruitment process and by being more open to recruiting talent from different sectors or industries – focusing less on past investment experience.

Van Dijks sustainability journey

Van Dijk strives to promote gender equality in her day-to-day life. With her three daughters in mind, she hopes they enter a world without biases– something van Dijk acknowledges may be a bit of a “dream.”

“I hope my daughters will not encounter the same biases I have experienced. As a woman in the financial industry, I have been luckier than most. I cannot say the same about bigger corporations or politics where men mostly run the show. Therefore, as a parent, I educate my children on this topic and strive to break gender roles or stereotypes they may get from others.”

“Don’t lose hope… Look for an ally.”

Van Dijk advises young professionals, “Do not lose hope and continue speaking up. If you are speaking up from a perspective of hope, it is much more powerful than speaking out of despair– although sometimes it can be the feeling behind it. Look for allies. Sometimes grey-haired, fifty-plus men can be allies. Don’t fear.”

Meet the new board member: Jenny Wassenaar from Trivium Packaging

Meet the new board member: Jenny Wassenaar from Trivium Packaging

Meet the new board member: Jenny Wassenaar from Trivium Packaging

Trivium Packaging “Trivium” is a global leader in metal packaging, serving some of the world’s most recognizable brands. They offer customers around the world innovative and sustainable packaging solutions supported by scalable global production and outstanding customer service. At Trivium, they incorporate climate actions across their three foundational pillars representing the name Trivium which is Latin and stands for “The three roads coming together”: Customer, Planet, and People.

Jenny Wassenaar, the new board member of Global Compact Network Netherlands, is the Chief Sustainability Officer at Trivium Packaging.

Trivium and their sustainability journey

The Sustainable Development Goals are a part of Trivium’s DNA. Becoming the “circularity champion” is how they defined their sustainability strategy with the ultimate goal to become the partner of choice for quality and sustainable packaging. Being a circularity champion means pioneering change and engaging in stakeholder collaborations that protect, promote and preserve resources. Simply put, it enables them to contribute to a circular economy and act as a force for good.

Jenny Wassenaar

Jenny Wassenaar

Chief Sustainability Officer, Trivium Packaging

“The world needs packaging. Products we buy need protection, foods we consume need preserving, and brands we love need to find ways to stand out on crowded shelves. Yet, our desire for safety, convenience and differentiation should not come at the expense of future generations and their ability to sustain themselves. I fundamentally believe that quality packaging does not have to be at odds with the planet— and with our teams at Trivium, we work hard to demonstrate that every single day. For the sake of our customers, our planet, and our people.”

Underlying the circularity champion are three pillars that cover their value chain. Within each pillar, they have set ambitious targets that they aim to achieve by 2030. For example, they closely monitor their energy consumption and emissions, maximise their recycling rates, optimise the use of secondary packaging materials, manage waste appropriately, and limit water usage.

Trivium joined the UN Global Compact in 2021. They committed to the Ten Principles and focus on 8 of the SDGs: 4- Quality Education; 5- Gender Equality; 6- Clean Water and Sanitation; 8- Decent Work and Economic Growth; 9- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; 12- Responsible Consumption and Production; 13- Climate Action; and 17- Partnership for the Goals. Wassenaar believes that by joining the UN Global Compact, they can scale their sustainable development globally and seek to learn and contribute to the international network and vast resources available to organisations.

Wassenaar thinks it is ambitious to commit to 8 goals. However, by combining the circularity in their materials and in the actions they take as an organisation they strive to uphold all of these commitments. Trivium makes the most impact with SDGs 9, 12, and 13.

Along with changing activities in the workplace, Trivium also creates knowledge documents that are freely available to their customers.

In their annual survey of consumer perceptions of sustainability in packaging called “Global Buying Green Report”, Trivium along with the Boston Consulting Group, interviewed more than 15,000 end consumers across Europe, North America, and South America

“We aspire towards a fully circular economy, where materials are kept in endless loops of use and reuse. By sharing timely insights that can help customers and end consumers make more informed sustainable purchasing choices, we take a further step toward true circularity. “

and explores their values and behaviours with respect to both sustainability and packaging. The survey reveals insights on consumer willingness to pay for eco-friendly packaging and consumers’ perceptions of packaging materials.

Wassenaar’s goals for the future are to do more on SDGs 17-Partnership for the Goals and 5- Gender Equality. By joining the UN Global Compact, they can expand their network and become more active in working beyond their industry. For Gender Equality, Trivium Packing seeks to create a “true balance between men and women in production locations.” This is still a challenge as more men than women are working on the production line, which is why they have created an Inclusion and Diversity working group, giving employees the ability to provide guidance on what they can do differently in the future.

Wassenaar’s Personal Sustainability Journey

Wassenaar strives to follow all the SDGs in her personal life. With four children, she makes sure to raise them with sustainability in mind. Recently, the family has turned vegetarian in an effort to consume less meat and be aware of their carbon footprint. The family collectively buys second-hand, whether that be clothing or furniture.

Moreover, Wassenaar and her family have taken in Ukrainian refugees. They all understand that they cannot solve all the problems in the world, but they can take small steps every day to make changes and adjustments that contribute to social issues and sustainability.

“Be courageous and be kind”

Wassenaar says: “My advice is always to be courageous and be kind. If you see something that you want to change, then take action: speak up and stand up. However, always look beyond your own needs as your decisions also influence others.”

Meet the new Participant Engagement Manager

Meet the new Participant Engagement Manager

Meet the new Participant Engagement Manager

Global Compact Network Netherlands has expanded their team with a Participant Engagement Manager since 1 July 2022. Monica engages with companies and organizations which want to join the UN Global Compact network. She will also have conversations with current participants to ensure they make the best use of the programs and services of UN Global Compact and Global Compact Network Netherlands.

 

Mónica Pascual, Participant Engagement Manager at GCNL

My name is Mónica Pascual, 32 years old and I live in Rotterdam.

From an early age, I have been fascinated by various cultures. I have searched for different scholarships for academic experiences abroad; for example exchange study in Boston, English courses in L.A., Erasmus in Mannheim, Santander Scholarship in Mexico, and the latest scholarship which brought me to the Netherlands. This has broadened my horizon and driven me to work together so we can lead the change that the world needs.

Monica Pascual Peñas

Monica Pascual Peñas

Participant Engagement Manager

During my seven years working for PROMPERU Benelux & Scandinavia (Promotion board of Trade & Tourism of Peru), I have developed a network of more than 2,000 professionals. I had the chance to manage projects within the HQ and other institutions, such as CBI, RVO, and SIPPO. By working hand in hand with SMEs, large enterprises and cooperatives, I have developed my passion for, and understanding of supply chains, and have enhanced my interest to seek new opportunities and contribute to implementing the sustainable change our planet deserves.

The UN Global Compact network helps empower, accelerate, and scale the global collective impact of sustainability. It has motivated me to include it in my daily work, to spread the message and to make the organization achieve their maximum potential. I am looking forward to being part of Global Compact Network Netherlands and can’t wait to meet your organization!

SDGs Lagging Halfway: Drop or Accelerate Them?

SDGs Lagging Halfway: Drop or Accelerate Them?

SDGs lagging halfway: Drop or accelerate them?

Hugo von Meijenfeldt

Advisory Board Member, Global Compact Network Netherlands

UN Secretary-General António Guterres recently stated that humanity is “moving backwards in relation to the majority of the SDGs” (Sustainable Development Goals) and encouraged parties to accelerate and scale-up. In a public blog of 23 May 2022 more than 100 scientists agree with the first part – like most people do – especially due to the COVID-19 crisis and the war between Russia in Ukraine. With regard to the second part of the sentence, the blog urges the UN to “drop the redundant and unhelpful ideology” of the 17 SDGs. Ten days earlier the initiator prof. Jem Bendell of the University of Cumbria published a more extensive (still to be reviewed) article “Replacing Sustainable Development”. This uncommon response is interesting enough to have a serious look at.

The blog of 23 May directs its call to abandon the SDGs towards the United Nations. The authority to change the SDGs however lies somewhere else: the 196 member countries. They negotiated the 17 SDGs between 2012 and 2014 and their heads of government and a lot of CEOs adopted them on 25 September 2015. UN-headquarters served as a secretariat. This is not just a ‘wrong address’ remark. It proves that the ownership of the SDGs lies much deeper and broader than with “bureaucrats and people in the organisations they fund”.

The blog claims that the SDGs were not a success right from the start and contradicts the widely claimed achievements of the Millennium Development Goals 2000-2015. The evidence has to be found in an abstract written by Jason Hickel, who advocates broadening the definitions of poverty and hunger. His plea is definitely sympathetic, but of course, it cannot retroactively be used to prove the goals are not met.

The blog continues with the statement there is a systematic problem with SDG 8: growth. Again an article by Jason Hickel is referred to. He has gathered empirical data to prove that the environmental SDGs are not feasible with 3% growth. He could be right, but why 3%? SDG-target 8.1 states: “Sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances”. Countries do not choose an absolute growth rate, but a relative one that depends on achieving social and environmental SDGs of their country at the same time.

Another systematic problem that the blog indicates, is that the SDGs have the wrong starting point that technology, capital and management solve both poverty and environmental destruction. There are perhaps people who have such faith in mankind. People working on achieving all 17 goals are using many more tools: legal, fiscal, and communicative.

Instead of the top-down SDGs, the blog favours a bottom-up resilience and adaptation, complemented by attempts to re-localise trade, energy, and growth. These three alternatives have already been important for a long time. Nevertheless, the ambition of these measures is low: “reduce harm”. More ambitious would be “do no harm”. The ambition of the SDGs is even higher: “do better”. A bottom-up approach alone is not sufficient. Measurement and reporting of progress are required, but how to realise this without targets? Without them, we return to the era before the Rio-process. According to the 2006 “Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change” mopping is 10 times more expensive than closing the tap.

Thanks to measuring and reporting on the goals UN-SG Guterres was able to warn the world. Instead of shooting the piano player most other scientists take the responsibility to accelerate and scale up the inspiring SDGs.