He helps companies future-proof their business

He helps companies future-proof their business

Erik Wedershoven joined KPMG’s Swedish Sustainability Consulting team last fall.

Erik Wedershoven joined KPMG’s Swedish Sustainability Consulting team last fall.

Erik Wedershoven joined KPMG’s Swedish Sustainability Consulting team last fall. Aside from grappling with the housing situation he is appreciating Stockholm life to the fullest. Being half Dutch and half French, maybe it is only logical that Erik Wedershoven has chosen an international career.

Joining KPMG in Amsterdam a little over four years ago has brought him far and wide, to countries like the UK, the USA, Singapore and Switzerland. Originally working in the Operations Strategy group at Management Consulting, one of his very first cases combined strategy and sustainability.

– We helped calculating the cost of sourcing cocoa sustainably. I found it so interesting developing a strategy that took sustainability into consideration. We assessed the societal impact of starting a factory running in a sustainable way, including job creation, training, environmental impact of using CO2-reducing technology and so on, Erik explains.

– When you work within the area of sustainability, you get to think of longer perspectives and look at things in different ways. At the same time you are helping companies to innovate and future-proof their businesses, which gives them a competitive edge. Societal value creation may include anything from the value of trees to job creation and other tangible economic impacts contributing to companies’ financial earnings, too.

Moving to Sweden

The experience from the cocoa project led Erik to join the sustainability team where he got to help forward-looking companies around the globe. In the spring of 2015 he was part of an international project team helping the Volvo group calculate the societal impact of using electrical buses in Gothenburg. This led to an offer to join the Swedish team in Stockholm.

– There is a lot of interest for sustainability among Swedish companies and my previous experience was positive, so I accepted the offer and moved to Stockholm in October, just in time for winter, says Erik, not without irony.

Apart from the descending darkness of the 59th latitude, he also had to face the challenge of finding somewhere to live.

– I have lived in Tokyo, San Francisco and New York, but finding an apartment here is by far the worst I have ever seen. Frankly, it’s a nightmare. Apart from that, I love Stockholm, although not speaking the language properly is sometimes a challenge. The team is great, though, and we work and do business in English.

Top 100 listed

Culturally, he finds a lot of similarities between Holland and Sweden. He doesn’t need to miss much in terms of food, for example.

– It’s funny, but Swedes are a bit of a mix between the French and the Dutch. Swedes are more indirect than Dutch people and will be more subtle when they give you feedback, but they are not as indirect as the French, he says.

Erik does go back to Amsterdam at least once a month, since he is involved in a sustainability think tank initiative called Worldconnectors. In fact, he was recently included on a list of the 100 most influential people under 40 within sustainability in the Netherlands. He has no plans of settling down at home yet, however.

– I really like working internationally. You get new perspectives and become more receptive to people from different countries. I would like to continue doing this, he concludes.

Facts

Name: Erik Wedershoven
Title: Manager, Sustainability Consulting
Age: 29 years
Years at KPMG: 4
Studies: Economics and political science
Spare time: Judo (has a black belt), actually looking for a new judo club in Stockholm