‘The foundation for investing heavily in necessary and sustainable initiatives in healthcare, industry, education and construction is not being in order’, according to Wim-Heerke Spronk, founder of The Green Solution Group in the FD of 21 December. Read more in this interview.
We are facing gigantic challenges. Climate change, a rising sea level, social inequality, overburdened healthcare and a gigantic shortage of affordable housing. A fundamental system change is needed to provide a future-proof solution to these challenges, says Wim-Heerke Spronk, strategist and expert in circular construction.
‘This is the moment to change the socio-economic playing field. But unfortunately it now seems that world leaders and policymakers do not want to realise that the world and life are not engineerable. It would be nice if we learned to accept this first and that we become aware of the vulnerability of ourselves and the planet we are visiting for a certain period of time. We live in a society where everything has to succeed in order to experience 'happiness'. It is precisely at this moment that we as a society are able to accept change. Spronk: 'I do want to emphasise that I do not want to understate the urgency and seriousness of the current problems and the accompanying suffering for many.’
'The foundation for making large-scale investments in necessary and sustainable initiatives in, for example, healthcare, education, industry and construction, such as ours, is not in order,' Spronk said. It is precisely at this moment that it is becoming apparent that it is not only politicians and science that should determine policy, but people. Many citizens show involvement and have a clear opinion. Let's make use of the experience, knowledge and talents that many people have. In this way, we will take responsibility together, we will make truly sustainable investments and we will create a broad social basis for the acceptance of change. Change starts at the front, so first the design, the foundation must be in order. Because many people in our society feel responsible for making their voices heard and want to think along with us about the current problems and challenges, Spronk sees opportunities and now is the time for a major systemic change (both socio-economic and political). Spronk: ‘The current system is outdated and absolutely not future-proof. To start with, I no longer want to talk about 'power', but about 'servant leadership'. Let's put people's happiness at the centre, or better, let's talk about a transition from prosperity to well-being. After all, life is not a dress rehearsal.’
Spronk has concrete ideas about this and a strong vision about why and how a necessary systemic change will bring more quality of life and balance to our society. He is, for instance, a strong advocate of greatly simplifying the system in all respects and making it comprehensible to all. In addition, we need to use the available knowledge, experience and talents in the right places in our society and reduce the socio-economic and social inequalities. Only then will we achieve the necessary change and solutions. The quality of life will then improve for everyone and our country will be a lot healthier, sweeter and greener. In his view, this really has to happen now in order to accelerate the many beautiful and sustainable initiatives and make them pay off.
From his company 'The Green Solution Group', Spronk initiates solutions that ensure a CO2-neutral construction chain and healthy and affordable homes for everyone. The construction industry is still searching, Spronk concludes. ‘And circular construction with natural materials is still a little more expensive. But that should definitely not be an obstacle to building healthy homes on a large scale. By thinking differently, working together, sharing knowledge and making smart investments, this change can really be brought about.’ An interesting example is the Circular Construction Growth Fund (GCB). By using this fund to make sustainable investments in detachable building elements and building materials that store CO2, we make a clean circular building with bio-based materials feasible. By adding value to these natural building materials - elements and modules - we extend the storage of CO2, we build climate-positive, healthy, clean and smart, and that means a reduction in construction costs. At the end of the economic life cycle, these building materials and elements can be reused or recycled as raw materials and so the CO2 chain is truly closed and large-scale circular building and healthy living pays off for everyone.
Spronk: 'We must not pass on the current problems to future generations, but we must dare to think differently now and above all do it together.’
Source: text FD: Féline van der Linden, photo: Ingmar Timmer
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