5 questions to our founder Nick de Ruiter

ERM’s new head of Corporate Sustainability and Climate Change EMEA.

Today we announced that our co-founder Nick de Ruiter will be ERM’s EMEA Service Leader, Corporate Sustainability & Climate Change (CS&CC) in the EMEA, as of April 1. He will take over this role from Alex Cox who will be Head of Transformation. We are extremely proud of Nick for taking on this exciting and important role within ERM. We spoke with him about this next step in his career, and what it means for him, for us and for our clients.

Hi Nick, congrats on the new job. Please fill us in, what exactly does this new role entail?

Thanks! First of all, I’m grateful for Alex, and the ERM leadership, for giving me this opportunity and I am very much looking forward to it. The role entails overseeing everything that ERM is offering in ESG strategy and -execution, external reporting and -disclosures, adhering to the Green Deal, net-zero strategies, Climate Change Financial Risk Management and Human Rights. It will cover countries such as UK, Ireland, the Nordics, The Netherlands, Belgium, France Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and South Africa.

Sounds like big shoes to fill! What are your goals at ERM for the coming years?

There is no other consultancy that is able to provide the in-depth expertise that is needed with the C-suite advisory that ERM is able to cover. As the largest pure-play sustainability consultancy globally, ERM can help leading organizations in their sustainability journey, tomorrow and the coming decade. My goal is to focus on building additional capacity across the region, both by upskilling people, sharing our expertise across the region and performing some key hires. The aim is to also increase our efforts in marketing.

Looking beyond the company, what can the Dutch market as well as the EMEA region expect from ERM in the near future?

The Dutch market can expect more visibility from ERM on topics such as net-zero strategies, Climate Change Financial Risk Management, and Human Rights, next to Sustainalize’s ‘traditional’ offering on ESG strategies and disclosures support. In the EMEA region we will aim for a much broader service offering for our clients and in talent acquisition on a staff and partner level in several European countries.

The presence of sustainability is growing. What is your vision on the developments (both opportunities and challenges) of the sustainability landscape in the coming 10 years?

More than ever, companies need to understand their business and how this will impact the environment, and vice versa. The details of their impact on the world (and how to abate this), what the risks are coming from climate change and biodiversity loss, etc. is vital in making future business decisions. Strategies need to contain the right focus, delivering on the right impacts that also align to stakeholder’s expectations (such as those of providers of capital and the legislator). Disclosure, reporting on the right targets, showing satisfactory progress and showcasing alignment to semi-mandatory frameworks such as TCFD and GRI as well as legislation coming from the Green Deal are crucial. Companies need to up their game to keep up with rising trends and a professional partner such as ERM can help them to do so.

You mentioned that management in the Netherlands will change, what does this mean for Sustainalize (as a company and its customers)?

We will continue the process of incorporating ERM’s expertise in the Dutch and Belgian markets and vice versa (sharing our expertise within ERM’s network). Jessica Boekhoudt and Misha Elkerbout will take over the roles of myself and Justus Koek. We will stick around though, as Utrecht will be our home office and The Netherlands is an important country for developments in external reporting, climate change and the energy transition. Together with ERM partners we will deliver to our clients what is needed to future proof themselves in these rapidly changing environments.

For more information on Nick’s appointment, read the official press release here.

Author
Vivian ten Have

Vivian ten Have

Consultant, Sustainalize

Interviewee
Nick de Ruiter

Nick de Ruiter

Partner, Sustainalize

Published on: 14 maart 2022

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