We are delighted to welcome circular economy consultant Thijs Maartens to our team. Thijs will work as a senior consultant within the Environment, Health and Safety area of expertise at Philips Innovation Services – and he shares our passion to create a better world for current and future generations. In this interview, Thijs tells us more about this passion and outlines his aims working for Philips Innovation Services.
What inspired you to choose a career in circular economy?
The combination of being able to do good and do well at the same time. I come from a family of healthcare professionals. Doing good and taking care of ourselves and the people around us is in our genes. Unlike my father and two of my three sisters, I did not study medicine. However, I do share with them a passion for improving the lives of others. I deliberately chose to combine a background in business with an integrated view on sustainability. Because I believe the most effective and efficient way to create a better world for current and future generations is through business.
Where have you worked prior to joining Philips Innovation Services?
I see my career as a professional field hockey player as my first working experience. Playing in the top teams in both the Dutch and Belgian league and having had the opportunity to represent my country in the national team, I got exposed to high performance team environments at a very early age. During this time, I combined my studies with daily training sessions. When I graduated, I combined my work as a strategy consultant in the domain of private and public partnerships in sports with my sports career. Soon thereafter, I moved to Belgium where I had the opportunity to be a partner and co-found two successful and sustainability focused start-ups. In this role, I learned what it takes to run a business and started enjoying responsibility to manage different teams.
Before coming to Philips, I worked for an American NGO and was responsible for the broadening, deepening and scaling up of the Cradle to Cradle Products Program across different European markets. In this capacity I became familiar with the systemic dynamics of the circular economy and the corporate needs related to realizing value in a circular economy. I moved from start-up to NGO to a corporate environment. A little A-typical, just like me.
How would you describe yourself as a circular economy consultant?
I see myself as a pollinator. Radical collaboration is key in a circular economy. I work from the understanding that my most important skill is to show how we can learn from each other and from ourselves. Complex challenges often need complex solutions. This means that as circular economy consultant it is important to connect experts from different domains, stay open to unpredictable outcomes and guide and guard processes towards regenerative solutions. Being able to zoom in is just as important as being able to zoom out in my role. As a circular economy consultant, I work from the moonshot to the molecule (and back).
Last question: which challenges do you like to tackle?
For me circular design (including material health) is a foundational and necessary building block for a circular business and/or ecosystem. Changing rules, roles, relationships and resources to help achieve desired outcomes often starts with a vision of regenerative design. I am very passionate about circular design. It is something that you can wake me up for.
Read more about Circular economy consultancy one of our services from the Environment, Health & Safety key area of expertise.
If you need support in the field of circular economy, please feel free to contact Thijs directly.
Circular economy consultant
Philips Innovation Services