Accountants will save the world – Peter Bakker (World Business Council)

On my trips to New Zealand, I have been inspired by the beautiful nature and the care that the local people take of that nature. On a large island far from other parts of the world, you are aware of the limited availability of the products and materials you have. The connection that the locals have with nature is beautiful to see.

We have to be careful with our earth, in order to pass it on to future generations. In recent decades, our society has lost its connection with nature. We use up a lot of raw materials, create waste and emit a lot of CO2. Our economy benefits from this, but nature is increasingly showing its downside. How can we reconnect our economy with nature? That has been my personal quest in recent years.

From 2005 to 2015, I worked at Eneco. I started as controller in the Eneco Energy Projects department, where all sustainable activities were brought together in one business unit. These projects are now the heart of the organisation and years of pioneering work to shape sustainability are behind us. Those years have inspired me to make an impact and connect sustainability and finance. In order to continue the search that followed after 2015, I started a PhD study at Nyenrode. This helped me to give more structure to this quest. Since 2018, I have been researching the financial aspects of the circular economy. I give lectures and presentations about this and I help companies to shape their business model of the future. The key to long-term success of any business is that money can be made from the model, in addition to the other sustainable value of the model. Bringing this thinking to the financial world, and thus being able to scale sustainable business models, is my mission.