50 alumni gathered in Amsterdam’s Westerdok on Monday evening to learn more about Dott – a leading European micro-mobility scale-up. Maxim Romain, Dott’s co-founder and COO, told the INSEAD crowd about the company’s journey from its beginning back in 2018 to an established market player it is today. Guests also learned about the exciting fast-paced micro-mobility industry and its inherent challenges and got a chance to ride Dott’s newest e-scooters – it was insightful and fun!
Call to Action for INSEAD Alumni; how can you advance a sustainable energy transformation?
Find your intrinsic motivation to really start using your influence. Take a serious look into the mirror every morning and ask yourself “How do I want to leave this planet for the next generations? How can I do everything possible within my personal control, to make this happen and use my influence in society?”
This was the advice offered to more than 50 Dutch INSEAD Alumni who gathered on Wednesday, March 30, at the Nieuwe Poort. The Nieuwe Poort is a place for rest and reflection. It’s a Force for Good in the center of the hectic financial business district Zuid As, in Amsterdam. It’s also a place where socially distant young people get the opportunity to build or rebuild their lives.
For the first time, both the INSEAD Energy Club and the Sustainability Club joined forces to organize an event. The mission was to explore how to make the transition to sustainable energy more sustainable?
Panelists Stientje van Veldhoven and Arnoud Balhuizen shared their opinions and insights at this first, in-person event since the start of the COVID pandemic. The main themes that emerged in the exploration were problem substitutions, geo-politics, incentives, innovation and taking up authority.
We are at a pivotal time in history to address climate change. We have only 8 years left to reach agreed emission reduction targets. Yet too often we fail to think systemically about the challenges we’re facing and end up solving short-term problems by creating other longer-term ones. As an example, Stientje shared with us a supposed solution of biofuels, but their production would require deforestation, equaling the size of the Netherlands! The consumption of resources by Europe is disproportionally high and not sustainable from a global perspective.
This global geo-political perspective is also required to prevent solving one sourcing problem without creating another one. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia makes painfully obvious how complacent Europe has been regarding its dependence on fossil fuels from Russia. But the tragedy could also provide an impetus to the energy transition in Europe. This raises other considerations. In the process of decarbonizing energy, how will “solutions” increase the dependence on China? Which countries produce enriched uranium required for nuclear energy? Other well documented nuclear energy related challenges remain, such as the long time required to build a plant and the waste problem.
This dependency challenge does not only relate to energy, but to materials as well. Arnoud shared that, for instance, the use of copper in the next 25 years will be larger than the copper consumption over the last 600 years! Amongst others, driven by the increase of electric vehicles. Meanwhile, the two most recent copper mines that are planned to go operational, have been opened by two Russian companies. Despite these geo-political realities, opportunities to recycle resources through waste treatment remain underdeveloped. The Chinese Belt and Road initiative is another example of the long-term global power game for resources. Some countries are better at taking a long-term perspective than others.
Innovation can also help a great deal to reduce the use of materials. What if cars are so well communicating with each other, steered by artificial intelligence, that we can substantially reduce their weight and therefore energy consumption?
In Europe, some progress has been made in terms of decarbonizing energy. But it is mainly progress on paper. Ten years ago, sustainability was low on the political priority list. This changed after the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. This is good news, but we are at risk of losing the vital sense of urgency. We should not expect our politicians at national or European level to do the work for us to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement objectives.
The clear message conveyed by Stientje and Arnoud is that there’s no time left to wait and see. We can’t afford anymore to look at each other and expect a silver bullet to sort out all our problems. Looking at solutions from different perspectives is important. For example, hydrogen has great potential. But not to create energy and not in all potential applications. Its purpose is to store energy, while transporting hydrogen is difficult and requires energy. Solutions must be seen in context. Another example that was shared is the highly effective geothermal energy production in Nigeria.
To look at other countries and expect them to solve the global warming by, for example, reducing the use of coal is not going to be the silver bullet either. Developing countries are taking a different perspective. In their views, over the last 100 years, the developed countries created the mess we’re in and now the developing countries have to clean it up? The Western world should support developing countries with technology and incentives.
Providing meaningful incentives will be encouraged by including the costs of a products’ carbon footprint in its final price. A precondition for an effective pricing mechanism would be regulation and a well-functioning Emissions Trading System (ETS). But other non-monetary incentives are also in play. How does your company’s public sustainability image help to attract talent? Ultimately, the best argument to invest in green technology is business success. Fortunately, there are plenty of business case successes to inspire us.
Summarizing, after a lively discussion, the call to action for INSEAD Alumni to make a difference and inspire within their own locus of control, is timely. Believe in your own capability to change the world. In addition, we were advised to improve our listening skills (especially the Dutch people in the room) and recognize the need for balance and nuance.
Stientje van Veldhoven: Regional Director Europe of World Resources Institute, former Environment Minister
Arnoud Balhuizen: HAL Investments, former Chief Commercial Officer BHP Billiton
Last week, the IAA President Frans Blom sent a message about how the International Alumni Association, in cooperation with other NAAs and alumni, is supporting our alumni in the Ukraine. One of the key activities is to find housing possibilities. So far quite a number of alumni have offered to be a host.
Given that we expect demand to significantly increase in the upcoming days we need your urgent help.
- If you wish to volunteer as a host, please fill out this form: the host form
- If you know of any alumni in need please reach out via this form (given that we will not have unlimited resources, please keep it within the INSEAD family) the guest form
- We need one volunteer to join the coordination team, who can help coordination this effort in the Netherlands. If you are interested, please let Odette or myself know
Thank you so much for all the support, we can have a tangible positive impact for our fellow Ukrainian alumni and their families.
On behalf of the IAA,
‘Thank you all for coming over yesterday evening and making the random diner such a great success. I was pleased to be your host for the evening and enjoyed the evening myself as well. I’m happy to see how our collective effort made this social experiment a great success. It’s amazing to see that the INSEAD magic still works: put together 7 people that don’t know each other and from the very start there are lively discussions and interesting interactions. And with a minimum of coordination, we ended up with a rich supply of antipasti, great red and white wine, and a special Indonesian homemade desert. It was also good to notice that and the end of the evening the dinner table was emptied and my dishwasher was full.’
Willem Koelewijn MBA’89D
Dear friends from INSEAD,
With the holidays coming up, it is time to look back. Clearly, most of us hoped that we could leave COVID-19 behind and that we would return to the ‘old’ normal. Unfortunately, 2021 turned out to be a hybrid year, requiring us to move back and forth between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ normal.
The volunteers of our association organized over 30 events this year, all with inspiring speakers, great content, and many exciting participants. Of course, most events were over Zoom, but luckily, we were able to go back to in-person events again. And although we wish we could have done more of these, the ones that took place brought so much energy, making us realize and appreciate the importance of our work for our alumni.
In 2021 we had our second wave of the mentorship program. It is safe to say that mentoring has deserved a permanent place in our community, and I hope that more members will join this program to take the opportunity to meet and learn from other alumni and to experience the amazing power and value that is in our network.
At the end of the year we were gearing up to the apotheosis of the Dutch Force for Good Initiative with the last Strategy Forum (out of the three), named ACT FOR IMPACT: from words to action and the reveal of the results of our fund-raising initiative. The event could not take place, but I am happy to announce that the event will take place on the 16th of June @ the Hermitage Amsterdam, and we hope to see many of you in person at the forum with so many fascinating speakers.
As for the fund-raising target, we are very excited to announce that we have just surpassed our initial target of €1m! The initiative started in 2019, and we are extending the deadline to July 1st to increase our target to €1.5m. We count on you to make this happen, and remember that every gift, of any size, makes a difference. Over the past two years, the pandemic has created some real challenges for our school: classes moved online for the safety of students, faculty and staff, and scholarship requests increased dramatically as aspiring students faced significant financial hurdles. But we know that INSEAD is looking to the future with hope and optimism. And there are good reasons to be proud of our global community, including a record number of more than 5,000 donors in 2020/2021. Eager to learn more? Check out the INSEAD Fund Impact report.
Last but not least: in May 2022, my term as president will come to an end. After 11 years of volunteering at the board, I have decided to pass on the baton. The board has initiated the process of finding a successor and has asked a succession committee, consisting of Nicole Boevé, Bart Blommers and Charles Kotting, to guide and advise the board in this process. If you are interested in leading our association in the next years, you are kindly invited to apply by sending your motivation letter here before 31 January 2022.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our volunteers who are putting in their energy and countless hours. Thanks to them, we continue to be able to offer inspiring events and to have one of the most thriving alumni associations in the world.
On behalf of the Board of the INSEAD Alumni Association the Netherlands, I wish you all wonderful holidays and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2022!
INSEAD Alumni Association the Netherlands
On Friday 12 November, the Dutch Government announced new COVID-19 restrictions, given the sharp increase in infections and hospital occupancy. Unfortunately, the INSEAD Strategy Forum at the Hermitage does not meet these new restrictions in its current form.
The Organizing Committee has therefore decided to move the event to Thursday 16 June 2022.
We invite you to participate in the final edition of the IAA NL’s series on the theme of Dutch Force for Good, a two-part event focusing on finding concrete ways to create positive change in the community.
Business as a Force for Good was introduced as the raison d’être for the INSEAD community, and this forum aims to galvanize our community into action. Through the course of the event, we will highlight stories of impact from doers and introduce
opportunities for you to contribute personally and professionally.
Eminent speakers include Peter Bakker, Hein Schumacher, Ilian Mihov, Marjolijn Klaver, Wouter Kolk and many more!
Strategies to Rebuild and Rebalance Business and Society
A new social contract between business and society is urgently needed. The Alumni Forum Europe provides an exceptional platform to meet and discuss with senior business leaders, INSEAD faculty and alumni what purposeful leadership entails in this disrupted and ever changing environment.
The Alumni Forum is delivered for the first time in a virtual format, with a central stage in Munich. Be surprised by this new, highly interactive experience, and participate from wherever you are based – as always, we promise to offer the famous mix of learning, networking and fun!
Congratulations to Frans Blom MBA’90D, IDP-C’20Jun, President-Elect of the INSEAD Alumni Association! Frans has been actively involved in propelling the mission of the school and the alumni association in numerous ways, even establishing an endowed scholarship fund through the NAA of the Netherlands. He will step in to his new role as President of the IAA in June 2021. We’re excited to welcome Frans and look forward to continue working together with the IAA.
#INSEADAlumni #INSEAD #INSEADforGood
Sustainability Club with Willem Ferwerda (Commonland) and Hans Reus.
Click here to watch the webinar