Blog – Gaining understanding of our global sustainability expertise

29 août 2017

Quest is an international transfer program which connects Arcadians from all over the world. Quest is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation. Every week we are highlighting one of the stories our employees who went on an exchange. In this blogpost we cover the Quest story of Karin Wallin who traveled from Melbourne (Australia) to Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Antwerp (Belgium) and Paris (France).

Why did I apply for a Quest

I applied for a Quest to broaden my Sustainability network and learn how Sustainability is viewed, driven and incorporated in the European market.

My key goal was to share experiences from our Australian work and develop a better understanding of our global sustainability expertise, this to be able to use a global sustainability network to differentiate ourselves in projects and tenders.


“I’ve already drawn on my new connections for project ideas, which have helped yield value for projects.”

Highlight of my Quest experience

My Quest gave me the opportunity to meet with our European leaders in Sustainability, get a firsthand description of the work they do and ask questions to get an insight into their projects, opportunities and challenges.

There are too many highlights to choose, but to name a few:

  • Made connections with the Arcadis Sustainability community that will lead to continued international collaboration
  • Joined the Dutch Sustainability team on one of their Sustainability Working days ‘Duurzaamheidsdag’
  • Visited the Antwerp office in Belgium to learn about how the Targets and KPIs of the Belgian Sustainability Action Plan were developed and get an insight into some of their current work such as the Albert Canal Nike factory – ‘Supply chain of the future project’
  • Had the opportunity to sit down with Joost Slooten our Director of Sustainability at the Arcadis Head Quarters in Amsterdam to discuss the 2017 Sustainability agenda
  • Met the Arcadis team working as part of the Artemis consortia that are delivering the impressive Grand Paris Express to discuss the projects sustainability initiatives and requirements. This gave me some great tips for some of our upcoming work on Sydney and Melbourne Metro.
  • While in Paris, I also got the chance to visit a number of urban renewal sites such as the Paris Rive Gauche where Arcadis has over 15 years of experience in designing developments above railways.
  • Visited clients in Amsterdam – including Prorail and Schiphol airport to talk about their Sustainability ambitions and priority actions;
  • Had a blast at the NV Young Parts Sneakers Gala, cruising between offices on an electric bike and representing Arcadis in a Dragon Boat Race

My Quest in one word

“Duurzaamheid (sustainability in Dutch)”

Learnings and experiences

I learned a lot during my Quest but most of all I developed strong connections with the international Arcadis community. I’ve already drawn on these connections for project ideas which have helped yield value for projects.

Overall, my Quest has provided me with:

  • Details into the challenges associated with encouraging clients to prioritise the Sustainability agenda
  • A global network of Sustainability professionals to draw upon and collaborate with
  • Insight into the differing ways Arcadis promotes and incorporates Sustainability in other markets, countries and sectors
  • Specifics on the organisational agenda and how we drive Sustainability internally throughout our business units

My recommendation for other Questees

A Quest is a great experience to connect with a lot of inspiring people. A face-to-face meeting creates a longer lasting impression and provides a quicker and easier approach to getting results than impersonal online conversations.

Should you choose to go on a Quest, be open, get out of your comfort zone, ask questions and have fun!

If you’re interested start networking with the global community and get in contact with your local and international leaders. A big thank you to Niels van Geenhuizen who was my sponsor and helped me set up the Quest.

The international transfer program Quest, which connects Arcadians from all over the world, is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation.