During this years Duurzame Week, Except Integrated Sustainability launches the Except Academy. The Except Academy guides individuals and teams, and gives them the tools and tenacity to realise actionable pathways towards long term sustainable organisations, cities, products, and industries. Except Academy was created to increase sustainability literacy and leadership capacity; what's needed to help build a sustainable society.
In partnership with the Duurzame Week, we opened our doors on Monday 17th of June to a small group of local sustainability enthusiasts. In the session, we asked the question "how can you create systemic sustainable impact?"
During the intimate session on integrated sustainability Freek van der Pluijm, Except's Facilitator for Organizational Change, challenged participants to zoom out from the object level and start looking at the network and the system lying beyond.
“When working with sustainability we very often tend to zoom in on a small part – a minute element – of a bigger system: how can we make this item, say plastic bottle, sustainable?" asks Freek.
"When we approach the same question in a slightly different way – by asking “how can our processes of designing, producing, using, and disposing off this plastic bottle better contribute to the transition toward a more sustainable society?” all of a sudden a myriad of opportunities start to present themselves," says Freek. "And it is here when we can start creating value by using an integrated perspective to sustainability."
“Yesterday's session was about taking a step back: we walked through the three layers of systems thinking – the object, network and systems level – and began looking at how to leverage each. This is the crucial step of systems thinking and takes time to sink in, but just by having the conversation, we are making vital steps towards building the foundations of a more sustainable society," he continues.
Systems thinking unravels the complexity of sustainability, realizing short-term results, and long term positive impacts. Symbiosis in Development (SiD) is Except's framework for integrated sustainable development. SiD allows individuals and multidisciplinary teams to develop actionable pathways towards long term sustainable organizations, cities, products, and industry.
“It was a true pleasure to work with such a diverse and motivated group of people, all bringing their unique and valuable perspectives to the table on how they themselves can make their meaningful contribution," Freek concludes.
The Except Academy offers various courses for professionals that want to dive deeper into sustainability. This includes a half day orientation course, three day intensive courses, half year training trajectories, and custom in-company training programs.
For the past twenty years, Except has worked on the open source Symbiosis in Development (SiD) framework for integrated sustainability and applied this in business, government and research. The Except Academy offers courses in systemic, integrated sustainability. This means that we focus on long term societal transition, as a means to reach a society that is sustainable in an environmental, social, physical, and economic sense. This is applicable for people wanting to make a fundamental change in how companies, governments, and industry functions.