Oriol Pascual maakte de stap
Who are you and what are you doing?
My name is Oriol Pascual and I’m a business developer for the non-profit organization Enviu. My task there covers the development of the upcoming Rotterdam Innovation Lab; an incubator for sustainable start ups that will open its doors in 2009 at the RDM Campus.
How did you end up at Enviu?
I’ve been working in the field of sustainability for the last nine years. First working at Philips Corporate Environmental Office and then in consultancy (ERM). Later on, I decided that although Barcelona is an amazing place (my hometown) I had the feeling that many things were happening abroad regarding sustainability, and not much was happening in Barcelona. So, I decided to send CVs around and see if there were opportunities. One day I received a note about an open position as researcher at Delft University of Technology. They were looking for a PhD researcher in the field of sustainable product design and that was the perfect excuse to take my stuff and come to Holland.
Since then, many things happened; I started a small company with two friends called Onsustain. We were selling eco-products with high quality, design and sustainability values. One day I was invited to give a presentation to Döll Architects who back then were already involved with Enviu on the development of the Sustainable Dance Club. There, I met Stef with whom we used to organize weekly breakfasts where we were discussing about sustainability and potential ideas. One day he invited me to join Enviu, and here I am.
Why do you think that sustainability is important?
Sustainability is relevant due to several reasons. First, it recognizes the complexity of our world; economic, ecologic and social dimensions are linked and it’s not possible to alter one of them without affecting the other two. Second, sustainability show us that in order to ensure the survival of our species (we don’t have to worry about the planet, it will be there much longer that us) we need to balance the previously mentioned dimensions. This is a huge challenge because worldwide population is on the rise, and (in general) we all have more and more economic power, which means higher consumption rates.
Third; sustainability asks to look at the world from a different perspective and experience shows that this is a great source of opportunities (innovation, business, empowerment of people).
Finally, I’d like to point out that contrary to what most people think, sustainability is not an end but an ongoing process. Therefore, there is not such a thing as “this is a sustainable product” there’s nothing purely sustainable. On the contrary, sustainability is a relative term where something is more or less sustainable than something else. In that sense, your goal should always try to do better than before or than others, rather than aim for a 100% satisfactory solution.
What is your background (education)?
I studied Environmental Sciences during my bachelor. Then I did a Master in Environmental Management in the Business Community by Erasmus University. Currently I’m finishing up a PhD.
How is your education helping you now?
Education is an important element of personal development. I believe that school or university provides you with a very general education regarding a specific aspect (in this case, sustainability). What you really learn during this years is how to manage a project, how to define a problem and look for solutions on a systematic way; those are the things that I use on daily basis. Later you realize that it is practice and experience what really teaches you how to move in the real world.
Moreover, you should never stop updating yourself (reading books, attending to talks, workshops, and so on) specially on a field like this one in which every three months we have new discoveries that transform the way we understand the world.
Do you have any tips for students (concerning their future)?
Don’t worry about what subject to study, at the end of the day it’s not that important. Neither worry if you spend an extra year or two on your studies; no one will ask about it when you’re working.
I believe that what matters is to be curious, ask questions, and ask again, learn to listen to others, and to find the people who are worth listening to. Do realize that everyone sees the world on a different way and that is very difficult to convince people to change their views. Instead, try to understand how others see the world, try to understand what is important for them, recognize the differences, that’s what make us a rich and interesting specie; let’s use it in our advantage rather that to create conflict.