Interview Paul Hendriks

“Where we will be in ten years’ time? Every student graduating from our Faculty will be aware of the inseparable link between his own discipline and sustainability,” says Paul Hendriks, Dean of the Nijmegen School of Management.

PaulHendriks“As a Faculty we have a long history in this domain. Since our creation in the late 1980s we have focused on sustainability in our education and research. From the start we have offered a programme in environmental sciences, now in the form of a Master’s programme in Environment & Society Studies. This Master’s programme is unique in the Netherlands and it demonstrates that sustainability also has a social aspect. To take steps in the right direction requires more than facts and figures on the state of the environment.

Sustainability plays a key role in many of our programmes. Within the Economics programme we devote a lot of attention to circular economies. The Business Administration programme views sustainability as an important social responsibility for businesses. For example, a bank has a role to play in investment decisions by asking entrepreneurs: “Did you consider the environmental impact of this investment?”

In terms of our operations I believe that our University has made great progress over the past years. How long ago did we switch to Max Havelaar coffee? That’s sustainability too. I think that we are making good progress. But we also have the opportunity to further strengthen university-wide collaboration between researchers working on this theme. It’s important to think about how best to achieve this.

Where we will be in ten years’ time? Every graduating student will be fully aware of the inseparable link between his own discipline and sustainability. Students will not only acquire theoretical knowledge but also the ability to concretely understand the sustainability aspects of a given situation and the opportunities it presents.

I always cycle to work. And for appointments in the Netherlands I always take the train. At home I’ve replaced at least half our lamps with LED. I separate plastic from other waste, because I think it’s important. If you see the effect all this plastic has on our planet, the only viable conclusion is that we all have to do something about it. And that includes our University.”