Duncan Stutterheim, founder of ID&T and sustainable entrepreneur, is the newest member of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge Jury. We talked to him about how he incorporates environmental building into his real estate ventures in the city, such as ADAM Tower and the former regasification plant Westergasfabriek, and his views on sustainability in daily life.

Why do you think the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is important and how does it fit you?
"With my background in events, I am of course very excited about an event that is organised very professionally and on such a large scale. Besides that, I think that a whole generation - people like me - recognises the importance of paying attention to the energy transition that we are experiencing now. Everyone knows and reads about climate change, but now it is important for everyone to do something about it in their own way. The attention generated by the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is great. It inspires people in all kinds of ways.

I think it is inspiring to see, also through initiatives such as the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, that there are so many good ideas out there. You feel the energy. I have a very positive attitude and always try to look for new or better solutions. And I like working with young people with bright ideas. So this competition fits me very well in that sense."

Which trends do you see in the field of sustainability?
"A big theme is tourism, excessive air travel through cheap flights. I fly myself, so it is a difficult discussion to have, but I think we should continue to talk about it. Why, for example, is kerosene still barely taxed? In line with this, I also see room for big improvements in the use of mobility in cities. A few years ago we had three cars. My wife and I both had our own car and we had a family car. Now we only have the family car. And I have cycled everywhere in Amsterdam for about three years. Then you suddenly realise how small the city actually is. I also try to convey these moments of reflection to others.

Another important theme is that people still continue to eat a lot of meat. With the ever-growing global population, we should focus much more on meat substitutes. People do not realise that meat production is a huge environmental burden. I am not completely ‘green’ in everything I do, but I try to get inspiration from others who set a good example. You can do much more than you think. That is what it is about: creating more awareness about these kinds of topics."

“My advice for entrepreneurs: be persevering, be persuasive, and trust your gut feeling”

Which current sustainability issue deserves the most attention in your opinion?
"To keep it close to home: mobility in Amsterdam. With the fine particulate matter that we have, the means of transport, and how we transport our goods into the city. It can be done in a much more environmentally friendly way. Why does waste collection not happen by boat? Or the consequence of online shopping: why should orders always be delivered the next day? Why not, for example, deliver once a week. We have become so used to it, even addicted I would say. We are not utilising the potential sufficiently.”

Another question that is close to home for you as a real estate entrepreneur: what do you see happening in the sustainability of buildings?
"I find it very interesting to find new ways to cool or heat buildings. When we participated in the tender for the redevelopment of the old Shell building, integrating hot-cold storage was one of the municipality's criteria for the acquisition of the building. That was a challenge, but in our proposal for the ADAM Tower it turned out very well. We had a fantastic cooled building this summer in the blazing heat.

As a result, I am using these kinds of systems again in future projects, because I have seen that they work. With the former gas silo at the Westergas site, we are also working on that. We are now in the transition from gas to solar panels, which is of course ironic in this place where gas has played such a big role in the past. Solar panels have recently been installed on the roof of the silo, about 1,000 in total, which could be purchased by local residents. In Amsterdam, not everyone has their own roof and not all roofs are suitable for installing panels. In this way, the residents can still generate their own solar energy. This is a project that is close to my heart. We do something for the environment and for people in the city at the same time, although it is still very challenging to apply this modern invention to a building of more than 100 years old. Just like improving the insulation of the buildings, there is a lot to be gained at the Westergas site. We look forward to making a difference there, too."

Finally, you started as a young entrepreneur yourself: what advice would you give our future finalists?
"Always look for ideas that people will support. And work on it until it is great. Polish it until you get people on board for your idea. If it is not good enough yet, you will have to work on it harder. At the start of my career, people were not enthusiastic at all about my idea of organising a dance party in Amsterdam’s football stadium. So I worked on it a bit longer to make it convincible. You can feel when people’s interest is growing. I realise that that instinct is probably a hallmark of my way of doing business. But my advice would definitely be: be persevering, be persuasive, and trust your gut feeling."

 

 


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