In this #SustainableBlog post, we talked to Daan van Apeldoorn, another one of our newest Sustainable Professionals.
Daan was born and raised in the Netherlands and has a wide range of interests — and a vibrant creative side. Just one example: he is a professional photographer in his spare time under the pseudonym Balthazar (his middle name), snapping pictures of so-called ‘faded glory’ — or what he calls “the beauty of ugly scenes”.
For his studies, he decided to focus on European Law and International relations in Utrecht and Paris. As internships, he went to work for some international law firms and even spent some time in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the Dutch Embassy.
At the beginning of his career, he decided to put his Marketing course from LSE to work by specialising in brand strategy at Wunderman Thompson (a WPP company) and even doing work for some major international clients like Unilever. For WPP Netherlands he was responsible for setting up their Sustainability Team and engagement strategy.
But what are your goals at #SustainablePublicAffairs?
Daan says that he is happy to be part of a great team of people with shared goals and values — focused on sustainability and doing right without taking yourself too seriously.
“It’s cool to contribute to a movement of ‘game changers’ by challenging status quo thinking, and bridging the gap between sustainable frontrunners and current policy frameworks. Especially in times where the EU dares to take the lead on the global stage”, Daan says.
“I also think that public affairs could benefit from some creativity, so it would be nice to bring a fresh perspective into PA — which has a bit of a reputation for being conservative”.
What is the biggest opportunity to improve sustainability?
“The biggest improvement lies in our heads, how we perceive the world”, Daan says with some conviction. “What makes us humans unique is our ability to tell stories, and unfortunately the ability to believe false ones’’.
One good example, he says, is that “For a long time, we have made ourselves believe that humans stand above nature. Luckily, the Climate Crisis and Covid pandemic are showing us the opposite. We are all interconnected”.
“It’s time for a new narrative,” Daan says.
Aside from that, Daan says he is a big believer in John Elkington’s so-called ‘Triple bottom line’: People, planet, profit. But he adds ‘only as long as we operate responsibly, resiliently and regeneratively’.
Daan is based out of Amsterdam from where he, together with the other Dutch colleagues, also covers the NL market.