Hedgehog Company has close ties with the Bachelor's program in Future Planet Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Our colleagues Joost, Saro, Philip, and Imme have all pursued this degree; the interdisciplinary approach and practical focus of this program are clearly reflected in the operations of Hedgehog Company. Recently, we were invited multiple times by the head coordinator of Future Planet Studies, Coyan Tromp, to share some of our knowledge with current students during knowledge and inspiration sessions.
Interesting case concerning the nitrogen crisis
For the Future Planet Project course, students engage in challenging interdisciplinary cases over a span of several weeks. The cases are based on challenges experienced in the business world, to ensure they closely align with the realities beyond the university walls. We provided a case centered around the nitrogen crisis.
Both the construction and agriculture sectors are responsible for significant nitrogen emissions. In construction, this takes the form of transportation and the use of heavy machinery in building houses. In agriculture, it's the livestock that emits ammonia. How can this crisis be approached in a way that presents an opportunity for both farmers and the construction industry? How can farmers, through cultivating crops that can be used in biobased materials, contribute to turning this crisis? And what are other sustainable benefits for them from growing biobased materials? Co-founder Saro designed the case and guided students in developing it.
Saro: "We encouraged students to think about potential solutions to the nitrogen crisis, particularly exploring alternative business cases for farmers. I saw some interesting solutions; from groups that explored the possibility of cultivating rice in the Netherlands, to a group that wrote a journalistic piece about the dairy lobby."
Career opportunities in the field of sustainability
Furthermore, Imme, our Senior Sustainability Expert, was invited to give a presentation about the steps she took after completing her Bachelor. Due to the interdisciplinary focus of the program, there isn't a single clear path, but students can largely shape their careers themselves. Imme has become increasingly involved in the sustainable construction sector and biobased building materials.
Imme: "I remember the overwhelming feeling after my studies; what will I ultimately do, with all the knowledge I've gained? During the program, you learn a bit about many different subjects. In the session, I shared my choices with students, for my master's and all the roles I've taken on since then. I've collaborated with numerous interesting parties, all of whom are engaged with sustainability in some way. And gradually, I've shifted my focus more towards sustainable construction and the built environment; for many students, this wasn't an immediate field they thought of, yet there are immense opportunities and needs here regarding sustainability and the sustainable use of resources and energy flows."
Thanks to Coyan Tromp for the invitation!