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Leadership in Sustainability for Young Professionals at Nudge

Category : General

Our Experience at the Nudge Sustainable Leadership Challenge 2012

By Annemiek Lauwerijssen, Capgemini Netherlands
    I am very proud to have taken part in the Nudge Leadership Challenge (NLC) weekend on behalf of Capgemini and would like to share with you what I learned about sustainability, leadership and enhancing positive impact.

The NLC was held on September 14 – 16 for 125 high potentials from theNetherlandsin the age of 20 – 30 that are driven by a passion for sustainability. The goal of the sustainable challenge was threefold: (1) create a network of passionate young leaders, (2) acquiring in-depth knowledge to put sustainability in perspective, (3) development of leadership skills in order to stimulate change. The program was diverse and fully booked with inspirational speakers, workshops and assignments. A wide range of organizations participated, such as: Ahold, ABN Amro, Eneco, Gemeente Amsterdam, Arcadis, and Accenture, among others.


Most people know that we are facing some serious issues because of the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, global warming, climate change, acidification of oceans, etc. There is however  still much to do regarding awareness and changing the status quo. It is important to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, in order for us to maintain a healthy living for the next generation. A lot of interesting speakers spoke about sustainability and their experiences from their perspective. Willem Ferwerda and Reinier van den Berg brought a scientific perspective, Unilever and Heineken brought a business perspective, Marc Cornelissen shared his experiences on the North Pole and Willie Smits about his experiences in Borneo, just to name a few of the many and variety of speakers. 


I have learnt that there is no clear distinction between leaders and followers. A true leader is someone who uses the right qualities at the right moment in a group: someone who can connect, inspire, as well as listen, to get a group to achieve their goal.

Reduce negative impact and enhance positive impact 

The fact that Capgemini Netherlands has already done a lot internally in this field, such as working on an ambitious reduction of carbon emissions, environmental certification and it is incorporated in our governance structure makes me proud. Besides this, I know of many colleagues that are passionate about this topic which are getting more and more connected. Next to these activities that are mostly aimed at reducing negative impact on the environment, we could take it a step further and improve our positive impact. We can achieve this by incorporating sustainable thinking in the DNA of our professional, by rewarding sustainable initiatives and spreading the word about it. 

I discussed the challenge to get sustainability into our DNA with the AppsTwo CEO and the CSR & Sustainability lead of Capgemini. I am currently working out the details of this plan, I’ll keep you posted!



“When the last tree is cut, when the last fish is caught, you learn that money is not eatable” (Willie Smits, micro biologist).

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this or if you’re interested to know more about this topic. Annemiek Lauwerijssen (

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