Interview Harriette Laurijsen

“I notice a kind of pride among my colleagues when it comes to how much we have achieved already,” says Harriette Laurijsen, Policy Advisor for Sustainability at Radboud university medical center.

“I am the link between the hospital and the University within the Programme Board. We’ve created a joint sustainability agenda because we want to work more closely together on themes such as waste, transport and energy. But we also want to make more joint purchases. If we need the same products as the University, it is much cheaper to buy sustainable goods together. In creating a green campus it simply makes more sense to join forces.

HarrietteLaurijssenRadboud university medical center has been active in this domain for close to five years already, and we have achieved remarkable results. Such as reducing food waste in our restaurants and patient meals by 35%! Since last year we also separate plastic waste from household waste. And all our departments have been equipped with new waste bins with compartments for separating waste.

Currently 25% of the food we serve in our restaurants is sustainable. We hope this figure to increase to 40% by 2018. With our Meatless Monday initiative we are making a statement; meat is a major culprit when it comes to CO2 emissions. But our Meatless Monday initiative is quite controversial. Our caterer receives complaints from people who feel patronized. They don’t like having things imposed on them. That is why we focus on seducing our clients. For instance by presenting organic food in an attractive manner, or positioning it more prominently among the wares. During Sustainability Week we placed cards next to the dishes, with information about the CO2 emission costs of producing a particular food. In this way we try to raise people’s awareness.

We also wish to promote a sustainable attitude in education and research. To launch a movement that will stimulate students and staff members to ask themselves whether their choices make a positive contribution to the world.

I personally try to live as sustainably as possible. When I travel for work I always take the train. I am a vegetarian. At home we purchase sustainable energy. And I recently started washing my hair with apple cider vinegar instead of regular conditions that contain lots chemicals. It is more environmentally friendly, cheaper, and better for your hair.

In ten years’ time I hope that we will have a green health-promoting campus where people will enjoy working and spending time. This vision gives me an incredible drive. I notice a kind of pride among my colleagues when it comes to how much we have achieved already.”