Sander van der Neut knows there’s no planet B. To him, the need for accelerated change is clear. So he’s running for Minister of the New Economy against more than 200 other candidates, in a quest to reach all of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Sander ranks 11th in the top 21 in the first round of votes in December 2020. On 15 January 2021 he’ll pitch in front of a jury with fellow candidates to make it to the top 3. Here’s why.
Why are you running for Minister of the New Economy?
“Because my generation deserves a seat at the table! When looking through the candidate list, I saw a lot of familiar faces, and the average age was at least 50. Many of these people have already made an impact in their (political) role 20 years ago. That’s where I saw an advantage for myself. I’m new and no one knows me, so I’m rocking up with fresh ideas and energy. I want to see action and not for us to simply continue discussing what the problems are and what the best approach might be. We’ve tried this for decades already and it hasn’t brought enough results. The Minister of the New Economy is a platform to share your thoughts on how to tackle this. I’ve always been looking for something practical to do next to my studies, and this fits perfectly with that.
My main motivation is my wish to achieve societal impact with my work. For example, I’m writing two master theses on sustainably growing peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. Through innovative solutions, I can achieve real impact here. Quite the opposite compared to working for some anonymous stockholder who wishes to buy a third Ferrari.
What are your main campaign issues?
“I have a clear vision of what the future will be and what’s in the past. What needs to happen and what needs to stop, and what’s right and what’s wrong. If I become Minister, I’ll become a lobbyist. This sometimes has a negative connotation to it, but I believe in the right kind of lobbying. I want to lobby for positive change, for greener policies and for more transparency. I’m also intentionally keeping a broad perspective on things, rather than narrowing down on a very specific need. To me, it doesn’t make sense to focus on one single change or a hobbyhorse as that’ll create tunnel vision too soon.”
What sets you apart from other candidates?
“I’m not trying to promote my own business or hobbyhorse. Some of the candidates put forward their own business ideas in the shape of a candidacy in order to get more publicity for themselves. I’m really in this to make a positive change and achieve a better future for all, and not just for my own wallet.”
What is your role at RSM?
“I’m a master student, and I work as student assistant in the Innovation Management and Consultancy (IMC) department, and also lend a helping hand to the Learning and Innovation Team (LIT). The IT team as part of IMC receives so many requests, so often I help staff and professors with their IT issues. For LIT, among others, I co-ordinate between the team and the campus studio. I like this backstage work at the business school that I’m studying at. Other students are unaware what it takes for something to get into the curriculum or how to get things done, but I get to see behind the screens how it works, which often translates into useful day-to-day insights”
More about Sander
Sander is a go-getter and never sits idle. Next to his candidacy for the Minister of the New Economy, Sander is doing a second master’s degree in Global Business and Sustainability. He has already obtained an MSc in Management of Innovation from RSM and a BSc in International Business Administration from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He works in RSM’s Innovation Management & Consultancy department as well as an array of initiatives such as the Erasmus Student Network and the student-led initiative to connect the university with the city Rotterdam, Erasmus Verbindt.