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Transdisciplinary collaboration: Deloitte Netherlands, UG/Campus Fryslân and students

Date:15 September 2023
Deloitte Netherlands and University of Groningen
Deloitte Netherlands and University of Groningen

University of Groningen and Deloitte Netherlands sign a meaningful letter of intent and take their collaboration to the next level after working together with Campus Fryslân on several initiatives such as the Living Labs (LLs) and Chapter Zero. With this collaboration, the Living Lab projects will continue to thrive and allow students to collaborate with Deloitte and their partners. Furthermore, UG students will have better opportunities for professional internships, as already seen in the example of one of the Campus Fryslan students, Mandipa Lecha, a Deloitte Netherlands intern.

On September 7th, 2023, the University of Groningen (UG) and Deloitte Netherlands, represented by Jouke de Vries, UG President of the Board, Hans Honig, the CEO of Deloitte Netherlands, and Harvey Christophers, Deloitte Lead Partner Sustainability, signed a letter of intent binding a closer collaboration between the two parties.

Deloitte Netherlands is one of the leading companies in helping businesses and organisations create an impactful strategy and make the future better while focusing on climate action and sustainability. The values of Deloitte closely align with what the UG believes in, especially Campus Fryslan, where focus on sustainable development is a major component in its education and research. That is why the UG/Campus Fryslân and Deloitte’s previous collaborations on the Living Labs (LLs) at Campus Fryslan and other projects with and beyond the university have been so successful.

The collaboration has been fruitfully developing during the Living Labs at the faculty of Campus Fryslan, located in Leeuwarden. It is the curious and ambitious second-year students from the bachelor’s programme Global Responsibility & Leadership (GRL) who take part in the LLs. This module aims to motivate students to apply their academic knowledge to practice. They do so by going to the outside world and meeting with public and private stakeholders who are open to the thoughts and ideas of young leaders. Deloitte, as one of the partner companies, provided the students with an opportunity to take a closer look at the climate change strategies among Dutch companies and organisations. In the academic years 2021/2022 and 2022/2023, two LL projects were completed as a result of this collaboration. The students took a closer look at the workings of Chapter Zero Netherlands, which is a foundation supported by both institutions.

One of the student groups researched the matter of the climate change literacy level of Supervisory Board members in the Netherlands. Chapter Zero, being part of the global network of the Climate Governance Initiative, allowed the students to conduct their research on a sizable scale. Both of the LL projects resulted in having a meaningful impact on creating sample strategies and suggestions for Supervisory Board members in the Netherlands on how to better the sustainability concerns. You can access the outputs of these two projects here.

The LLs collaboration not only benefited the university programme but also created a one-of-a-kind internship opportunity for one of the students participating in this project. Mandipa Lecha, from the previously mentioned LL projects, took up the opportunity and joined the Deloitte team in September 2023 as a student intern. Mandipa’s internship at Deloitte allowed her to continue working on the Chapter Zero project. The vision of Chapter Zero focuses on creating tools that will empower the non-executive directors of meaningful organisations and companies with what sustainability is and how to reach a net-zero carbon economy. Mandipa’s education at the GRL programme and her participation in the LL research shaped her as a perfect candidate for that internship. Still, it most importantly provided her with a base to further develop in the professional world of global leaders and change makers.

Looking back at everything that the collaboration has helped achieve in the past years, we look forward to seeing how it can further develop after the letter of intent is signed. We believe that Deloitte can strongly benefit from having UG students in their networks and that new initiatives and perspectives of those young and talented people will contribute to changing the future and having an impact, as well as connecting students with real challenges. This is the aim of having LLs as part of the BSc programme Global Responsibility & Leadership, transdisciplinary education. Furthermore, it is the students who will now have bigger chances of closely working with the heads of global companies and increasing their awareness of climate change and actions that should be taken.

More information about Chapter Zero and Deloitte’s initiatives