A team of five students and the sustainability co-ordinator from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) will participate in the prestigious Leaders Forum in Switzerland this weekend. The three-day forum will bring together leaders from business, NGOs, public organisations, the general public, and students from universities around the world to help shape the global sustainability agenda.

RSM’s MSc students Anke Verstappen, Nadine Kooiker, Franziska Reh, Tirza Voss and Nierika Hamaekers and Sustainable RSM’s sustainability co-ordinator, Joey Johannsen will represent RSM at the three-day Leaders Forum - Shaping the Global Sustainability Agenda at the University of St. Gallen and Impact Hub Zürich from 5-7 February. 

They will experience best practices of path-breaking institutions, global leaders and social entrepreneurs about initiatives that fundamentally shape the global sustainability agenda. In addition, the students will exchange perspectives and experiences with sustainability experts and leaders of foundations and NGOs who create and implement social business models at the interface of Latin America and Europe. Together, they will transfer lessons learned on how to participate in agenda setting.

Making a difference

Joey Johannsen, RSM’s sustainability co-ordinator, believes this composition of strong student leaders will create impact as they relate sustainable business practices addressed in their RSM master programmes. “We are calling ourselves ‘Team RSM’, entering into an international cohort of business school students. The year 2015 is a pivotal year for drivers of sustainability to impact global agreements and real action,” she says, emphasising that the five MSc participants are taking the opportunity very seriously.

“This is a unique opportunity that will further enhance my knowledge of sustainability,” says Nadine Kooiker from RSM’s MSc in Marketing Management. “By bringing my skills and knowledge to the discussion table, I hope to contribute to a fruitful and engaging learning experience. I’m also really pleased to see that business schools provide students with opportunities to learn more about sustainability,” she added.

Anke Verstappen from RSM’s MSc Global Business & Stakeholder Management (GBSM), says: “I’m still searching for which specific part of sustainability I want to invest my time and energy in. The Leaders Forum in Switzerland will allow me to meet influential speakers and experts in their field. This will help me find out where and with what I could help making change.”

Sustainable solutions

Franziska Reh’s interest in sustainability dates back to her internship with Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors in New York a few years ago. The student, also from RSM’s GBSM programme, says she looks forward to meeting like-minded people who want to participate in creating a sustainable future and exchange ideas and visions with them. She hopes to implement some of these new ideas when she starts her new role at Accenture Sustainability Services this summer.

Reh and Verstappen’s classmate Nierika Hamaekers believes sustainability events such as the Leaders Forum are also essential for discovering solutions for many social and environmental problems. Having lived in Latin America for a long period of time, she became aware of the severity of these issues and the urgency to find solutions for them.

“With small steps I am trying to make a difference,” says Tirza Voss, a student in RSM’s MSc in International Management/CEMS programme, who initiated charity organisation DARA Europe to support a children’s care centre in Cambodia, of which she is now a board member. “I believe that these small steps can make an important difference in peoples’ lives. I’m very excited to participate in the Leaders Forum to learn and discuss which big steps we can make to actually shape the global sustainability agenda.”

RSM Sustainability Forum

Sustainable RSM is organising the RSM Sustainability Forum on Friday 10 April 2015. The forum will feature leaders from business, academia and society to explain how different forms of innovation can pave the way to sustainable business. 

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is a top tier European business school and ranked among the top three for research. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has offices in the Amsterdam Zuidas business district and in Taipei, Taiwan. www.rsm.nl 

For more information on RSM or on this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, Media & Public Relations Manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at mschouten@rsm.nl.

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