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‘We need to view sustainability more from an entrepreneur’s perspective'

Michel Schuurman is the Director of Economy & Politics at MVO Nederland, the CSR movement for entrepreneurs in the new economy. Around 20 years ago, he read an article on sustainability written by adventurer and polar explorer Marc Cornelissen. He decided to contact him.


This was the start of a friendship and business relationship that led to the establishment of a program office and consulting firm specialized in sustainability. They also went on expeditions together to Spitsbergen and Greenland. Michel: “Marc’s philosophy on sustainability is embodied in the award that bears his name. He serves as a role model and incentive driving the sustainability pioneers of today and in the future. This is why I’m so happy about the award. Marc not only showed guts and perseverance, he was also a real bridge-builder. And building a sustainable bridge between politics, science and business has been more topical than ever for some time now. This is how the award has become one that increasingly transcends disciplines over the years.”


‘THE AWARD HAS BECOME ONE THAT INCREASINGLY TRANSCENDS DISCIPLINES OVER THE YEARS’


Board member “I became a board member of the Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award Foundation for two reasons. First of all, because of my personal connection to and history with Marc and his family. And secondly, because MVO Nederland wants to make the strongest and most extensive connection possible with everyone who is concerned about a sustainable world. Hopefully this will enable us to actually accelerate efforts in this area.”


Half-full and half-empty “In that sense, we’re not there yet. You could say that the glass is half-full and half-empty, as is the case with so many other things. Half-full in the sense that the realization that we must become more sustainable is now widely shared. Half-empty because many people still think this is about a few small differences in sustainability percentages. This isn’t the case. What it’s really about is redesigning the economy and consumer society. One of the necessary adjustments is the need to also start looking at sustainability from an entrepreneur’s perspective. As I mentioned, this is because we are past the phase where we just make a moral appeal to people and businesses.”

‘IT’S REALLY ABOUT REDESIGNING THE ECONOMY AND CONSUMER SOCIETY’


Companies’ right to exist “The Chemelot Circular Hub plays an important role in the creation of more and better business cases. It aims to offer companies that contribute to a sustainable world an even greater opportunity to justify their existence. To achieve this, innovative materials, processes and solutions are being developed and marketed in a multitude of areas in order to further close the sustainability chain.”

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