Topic Leader Robert Metzke

Philips & the Sustainable Development Goals with Topic Leader: Robert Metzke

Posted on 21 juni 2018

A talk with Robert Metzke, Chief of Staff Innovation & Strategy and Global Head Sustainability at Philips.

What drives you to contribute and work in sustainability?

Several things actually: I can hardly think of topics that are more relevant than addressing the big challenges of humankind in our time, i.e. the Sustainable Development Goals. It is deeply rewarding to connect and work with passionate people from all around the world to solve these goals which are complex puzzles that, when solved, will contribute to making our world more liveable for this generation and the generations to come.

According to you, what are the most urgent actions to be taken today to help create a more sustainable world by 2030?

  1. Decouple growth from waste of resources, i.e. design, and grow, the circular economy.
  2. Curve CO2 emissions and mitigate climate change impact.
  3. Address social development including access to care, food and education.

How does Philips’ sustainability programme deliver tangible impact?

Looking at the actions above, I’d like to highlight the following examples:

  • Philips is leading in the transition towards a circular economy. We have committed to take back all large medical equipment by 2020 from our customers. This way we help hospitals to reduce their environmental footprint and cut costs. By 2020 we want to achieve at least 15% of global turnover from circular solutions.
  • Over the last 10 years, we have reduced our own CO2 emissions by over one third; equivalent to the absorbing capacity of 10 million large trees. In October 2016 and January 2017, a consortium, including Philips, concluded long-term contracts that enabled the construction of two Dutch wind farm projects: Krammer and Bouwdokken. These wind farms, both in the southwest of the Netherlands, have a total capacity of more than 140 MW, enough to supply approximately 140,000 households with electricity. When both wind farms are fully operational, 100% of Philips’ operations in the Netherlands will be driven by Dutch wind energy, a key milestone in the company’s ambition to become CO2 neutral by 2020.
  • With its Community Life Centers in Africa, Philips offers an integrated solution for healthcare, lighting and health living in remote regions until now deprived of health technologies. Our goal is to provide health care to 300 million people, currently without access, by 2025. The remoteness of these regions means that portable health monitoring technologies with mobile connectivity are proving invaluable to local volunteers, who can now access knowledge and advice from experts far away.

What is the role of young professionals working at Philips in sustainable development?

To act as natural change agents by displaying a passion for the greater good combined with creative and seemingly unlimited energy. Being non-hierarchical problem solvers, extremely well-networked, and motivated, Millennials (Generation Y) help us to continuously raise the bar for further improvements in the sustainable development.

What advice do you have for young professionals participating in the Partnership Verkiezing?

…. Follow your passion and share it with those around you.

Do you want to learn more about this Topic and/or join the next Partnership Verkiezing to create a sustainable business-case matching both your passion and organisation’s goal? Send us a message!