SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES
AS I STAND BY THE FOOTBALL PITCH WITH MY BROTHER CHEERING MY NIECE ON, WE SUDDENLY START REMINISCING ABOUT THE OLD DAYS. IT’S LIKE A KIND OF UNCONSCIOUS HOMESICKNESS THAT OCCASIONALLY REARS ITS HEAD. FROM CAMEL’S HUMP, A MOUNTAIN IN THE US STATE OF VERMONT WHERE I HAD A VIEW OVER THE CAMPUS, TO THE FLAT DUTCH LANDSCAPE AND AMSTERDAM... OVER 5,500 KM AND MANY YEARS LATER, I THINK BACK TO MY BIG AWAKENING ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY.
Where there should have been trees, Camel’s Hump was barren as a result of acidification caused by industrial activities. That’s when I realised something had to change. Thankfully, that awareness has grown in me over the years, just as it has in many people across the world. In fact, sustainability is a hot topic. Looking around me, I notice that many people – especially young people – recognise the importance of finding a better way of doing things and that sustainability is bigger than just climate change. Sustainability also concerns human rights, diversity and corporate social responsibility. After all, everything is connected and affects production methods. I am lucky enough to be able to apply this in my work. We explore how we can make a difference to businesses and contribute to a sustainable organisation in the broadest sense. We look at ways to help farms produce ‘cleaner’ food and how to make offices more sustainable.
We offer private mortgage clients with Lot Hypotheken the opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. And by embedding sustainability requirements in our loan agreements, we encourage businesses to take concrete steps in transitioning towards sustainable practices.
We also look for opportunities within our own organisation. For example, the power supply at all NIBC offices comes from clean, sustainable sources. And we contribute to the wellbeing of the societies in which we operate through initiatives such as the NGO Boulevard: the part of our head office where many NGOs are based. We are so lucky to have so many opportunities to contribute to a better society for future generations.
I’m back on the football pitch in Amsterdam, where the chances of winning have dwindled. But the match was still a win for me because it was the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with my family.
Robin Willing is Senior Sustainability Officer at NIBC Bank and helps make sustainable decisions at decisive moments. Robin and his wife are both from the US and have lived in the Netherlands for over twenty years.