"Every fairy tale needs a hero".

Futureproof Sustainability Frontrunners - a series

Written by
Alexander van Noort
Written by
Suzanne Helming
On
January 25, 2021
January 24, 2021

"Every fairy tale needs a hero".

Futureproof Sustainability Frontrunners - a series

Interview met
Vincent Doedée
On
January 25, 2021
January 24, 2021

Get to know our series about and with sustainability frontrunners. The aim of the series is to increase the visibility of the pioneers in the field of zero emission and their approach to inspire the followers. How do they fulfill their roles? What advice do they give?  

This week: Mr. Sustainability, a name that stuck which he got from his friends, family and colleagues in 2017. Vincent Doedee has been actively involved in sustainability ever since, and specifically in his field of offshore engineering. He was one of the founders of “Our Oceans Challenge” and in 2017 was given the sustainability position within the company where he works, Heerema Marine Contractors, to focus full-time on steering and motivating towards a Carbon Neutral future. Supported by the vision of sailor and owner Pieter Heerema, Vincent, in the last 3 years, has been at the forefront of major sustainable initiatives with impact: Walstroom and “Carbon Neutral strategy” as examples.

How does Vincent manage to remain a frontrunner? How does it deal with the high ambitions? We asked Vincent four personal questions.

What advice do you give to organizations starting with sustainability?

Vincent: “Every fairy tale needs a hero (the initiator) and a guide (the mentor). You also need a goal, a flag, a dot on the horizon. In Heerema's story I was lucky enough to be able to fight for the sustainability goals and projects of our company, as in a fairy tale, and Pieter was essential as a mentor / guide for the direction and drive within the company. He long ago supported a vision that ultimately ensured that the Sleipnir (the newest ship in the fleet) was LNG powered, and that we were able to implement shore-based power in Rotterdam. Once you have the "flag" and "guide" you can also work towards a successful end as a hero of the fairy tale. In this case a sustainable offshore company.

Second, in addition to a goal, set KPIs for sustainability and manage accordingly. I.e. make every layer within a company part of these KPIs: leadership, operations and middle management. This ensures that innovative sustainability objectives are not obscured by daily operational challenges. Heerema is doing very well in the offshore operational world. In many technical companies it is primarily about operations. We strive for perfection in execution, efficiency and safety with the current means, but there is always room for improvement. In my opinion there are still many impactful improvements to be made towards zero emission, and they need not be costly. There is not 1 silver bullet, ……there are many, hundreds, thousands!

What advice do you give to the next generation of sustainability managers?

Vincent: “Experiment as much as possible. Think of, and list, projects that can improve your company from the perspective of sustainability. Involve all layers in this, but certainly operational leaders. These engineers, technical experts, operate from the best of their abilities to improve execution every day. Which does mean that there is little room left for conceptual, abstract and strategic innovative thinking. Execution comes first, innovation often comes after as time seems limited. An organization needs support in innovation and design thinking. As well as in accepting that the world is not perfect and that major improvement is possible.

"We should accept that the world is not perfect and that major improvement is possible".

So is leadership support essential to success? Vincent: “No, but it does help if you report to the part of the organization that also has the budget and authority to take action. If not, you take the sword out of your hero’s hands ”.  

Secondly, you shouldn't try to convince everyone. That won’t work, and you should want to, but strong leadership helps. And credit where credit is due, I thank Heerema's leadership for their support and vision in recent years.

What advice do you give to your younger self? What would you do differently?

Vincent: ”Be better than me. In the last years I was concerned with making a flag: putting a dot on the horizon and setting up an organization. I would advise, also for my succession: work more closely with the fleet towards results. Experiment and take action. But in hindsight without the challenges, mistakes, delays that I have encountered, I would not have learned what I know today. So maybe I would only have advised myself some books to read to get to some insight earlier.

What are your daily mantras? What would you recommend to your fellow sustainability managers?

Vincent: ”Years ago I read the book:“ 7 habits of highly effective people, by Stephen Covey ”, in which he indicated that you should set aside an hour every day for personal development. Since then I start the day early, around a quarter past 5, start with sports followed by writing and researching for a blog. By 8:00 in the morning, when the rest of the day starts, no matter what happens, you've already had a good start.

"Find an hour a day for personal development."

"I can only go home when everything is sustainable, that's sort of the deal!" I would like to give the market a tool that allows them to easily gain insight into the available technical possibilities and the associated costs. This makes selection of the right bullet easy… .. maybe very soon!

With this series we, as nlmtd.com, we want to put sustainability role models in the spotlight; which persons lead and give substance to the sustainability ambition within organizations (who are they and how do they do it, to what extent do they differ from each other, and what is the reason for this). Are you, or do you know, a sustainability leader who should not be missing from this wall of fame? Contact us: suzanne@nlmtd.com or alexander@nltmd.com. Interested in your sustainability performance and where to start? Click here for our kickstarter.

"Every fairy tale needs a hero".

Get to know our series about and with sustainability frontrunners. The aim of the series is to increase the visibility of the pioneers in the field of zero emission and their approach to inspire the followers. How do they fulfill their roles? What advice do they give?  

This week: Mr. Sustainability, a name that stuck which he got from his friends, family and colleagues in 2017. Vincent Doedee has been actively involved in sustainability ever since, and specifically in his field of offshore engineering. He was one of the founders of “Our Oceans Challenge” and in 2017 was given the sustainability position within the company where he works, Heerema Marine Contractors, to focus full-time on steering and motivating towards a Carbon Neutral future. Supported by the vision of sailor and owner Pieter Heerema, Vincent, in the last 3 years, has been at the forefront of major sustainable initiatives with impact: Walstroom and “Carbon Neutral strategy” as examples.

How does Vincent manage to remain a frontrunner? How does it deal with the high ambitions? We asked Vincent four personal questions.

What advice do you give to organizations starting with sustainability?

Vincent: “Every fairy tale needs a hero (the initiator) and a guide (the mentor). You also need a goal, a flag, a dot on the horizon. In Heerema's story I was lucky enough to be able to fight for the sustainability goals and projects of our company, as in a fairy tale, and Pieter was essential as a mentor / guide for the direction and drive within the company. He long ago supported a vision that ultimately ensured that the Sleipnir (the newest ship in the fleet) was LNG powered, and that we were able to implement shore-based power in Rotterdam. Once you have the "flag" and "guide" you can also work towards a successful end as a hero of the fairy tale. In this case a sustainable offshore company.

Second, in addition to a goal, set KPIs for sustainability and manage accordingly. I.e. make every layer within a company part of these KPIs: leadership, operations and middle management. This ensures that innovative sustainability objectives are not obscured by daily operational challenges. Heerema is doing very well in the offshore operational world. In many technical companies it is primarily about operations. We strive for perfection in execution, efficiency and safety with the current means, but there is always room for improvement. In my opinion there are still many impactful improvements to be made towards zero emission, and they need not be costly. There is not 1 silver bullet, ……there are many, hundreds, thousands!

What advice do you give to the next generation of sustainability managers?

Vincent: “Experiment as much as possible. Think of, and list, projects that can improve your company from the perspective of sustainability. Involve all layers in this, but certainly operational leaders. These engineers, technical experts, operate from the best of their abilities to improve execution every day. Which does mean that there is little room left for conceptual, abstract and strategic innovative thinking. Execution comes first, innovation often comes after as time seems limited. An organization needs support in innovation and design thinking. As well as in accepting that the world is not perfect and that major improvement is possible.

"We should accept that the world is not perfect and that major improvement is possible".

So is leadership support essential to success? Vincent: “No, but it does help if you report to the part of the organization that also has the budget and authority to take action. If not, you take the sword out of your hero’s hands ”.  

Secondly, you shouldn't try to convince everyone. That won’t work, and you should want to, but strong leadership helps. And credit where credit is due, I thank Heerema's leadership for their support and vision in recent years.

What advice do you give to your younger self? What would you do differently?

Vincent: ”Be better than me. In the last years I was concerned with making a flag: putting a dot on the horizon and setting up an organization. I would advise, also for my succession: work more closely with the fleet towards results. Experiment and take action. But in hindsight without the challenges, mistakes, delays that I have encountered, I would not have learned what I know today. So maybe I would only have advised myself some books to read to get to some insight earlier.

What are your daily mantras? What would you recommend to your fellow sustainability managers?

Vincent: ”Years ago I read the book:“ 7 habits of highly effective people, by Stephen Covey ”, in which he indicated that you should set aside an hour every day for personal development. Since then I start the day early, around a quarter past 5, start with sports followed by writing and researching for a blog. By 8:00 in the morning, when the rest of the day starts, no matter what happens, you've already had a good start.

"Find an hour a day for personal development."

"I can only go home when everything is sustainable, that's sort of the deal!" I would like to give the market a tool that allows them to easily gain insight into the available technical possibilities and the associated costs. This makes selection of the right bullet easy… .. maybe very soon!

With this series we, as nlmtd.com, we want to put sustainability role models in the spotlight; which persons lead and give substance to the sustainability ambition within organizations (who are they and how do they do it, to what extent do they differ from each other, and what is the reason for this). Are you, or do you know, a sustainability leader who should not be missing from this wall of fame? Contact us: suzanne@nlmtd.com or alexander@nltmd.com. Interested in your sustainability performance and where to start? Click here for our kickstarter.

Posted by
Alexander van Noort
On
January 24, 2021
January 25, 2021