[Corp. Sustainability]: Connecting to the Belgian front-liners in sustainability!

Interview with Ralph Thurm, Directeur Collaborative Sustainability & Innovation with Deloitte Nederland and owner consultancy A|HEAD|ahead


From less bad to good enough!


Sustainability is a journey!
First, directing the team towards sustainability, than approaching the customers, making them enthusiastic before they themselves do.


Corporate social responsibility and commitment to sustainability – International standards to distinguish between greenwashing and real sustainability!
Standards, guidelines, technical protocols and clear indicators are needed.
We have become less bad, but we do not really know what is good enough for our planet. We must move from efficiency-driven indicators to impact indicators. Especially now we have more and more data available, such as various aspects of the ecological footprint and monetizing ecosystem services. To be less bad is not good enough anymore. We have to learn to measure what is minimal good enough. As John Elkington advocates in his book Zeronauts: Breaking the Sustainability Barrier.


Actually, we want more: regenerative growth and positive impact growth (PIG)!
Give back more than what we take from the planet. Otherwise we are not sufficiently coping with the rebound effects from climate change and population growth.


The united strength of companies bigger than all the governments of the world together!
Despite the difficult economic and capitalist logic world in which we live now, there are today in all industries a number of leading players who say that we must act now if we are to avoid to lose much more in twenty years from now. Companies like Puma have a first environmental profit & loss account drawn up and they are working on a second with more aspects, not just around CO2, energy and water. With the risk that anyone can view and a lot of sensitive information disclosed, Puma does this so that everyone would understand why they do it and so others would follow their example.


Gradual process of change towards sustainability or a great revolution!
Do not expect a big swing, but relatively lots of earthquakes and landslides. It will not be all smooth. We are at the beginning of a transition phase. The interesting thing is that most of the social and economic transition phases in the past were preceded by financial crisis. Especially when it appears obvious that we cannot resolve the crisis with financial interventions only.
Also many other domino-effects play a role, such as the food and climate crisis. You will now see a real change in attitudes occurring.


Knowing that it is not going well with our planet, gives a great sense of responsibility and finding the right answers to our many questions remains a strong motivation.


The following interview was first published in ARGUSactueel on 24th of January 2013. It was done a couple of days before my keynote speech in Antwerp at the Belgian Global Compact Network meeting on January 30, organized in collaboration with VOKA (the Chamber of Commerce for Vlanderen), and the Antwerp World Diamant Center. The text is in Dutch language. I thank the organizers for the wonderful opportunity to talk in front of more than 80 careful listeners, connect to the Belgian frontliners in sustainability, and finally visit Antwerp!

Ralph Thurm – Een stap verder dan duurzaamheid

Op woensdag 30 januari komt Zeronaut Ralph Thurm naar Antwerpen. Hij is in ons land nog niet echt bekend, maar zijn systematische en holistische aanpak van MVO- en duurzaamheidskwesties maken hem tot een zeer boeiende vertegenwoordiger van de wereldwijde transitiebeweging.

Thurm staat voor een holistische aanpak van duurzaamheid en maatschappelijk verantwoord ondernemen en brengt dat in…

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