It was towards the end of 2002. Massive floodings in Germany had caused billions of euro’s worth of damages. And these were mostly uninsured. I asked my bosses at KPMG for permission to form a team and develop a business proposition for our financial clients.
During this process, the earth scientist within me woke up. I was not the least interested in insurance products. Rather, I wanted to prevent such floodings from happening in the first place.
Discussions with experts pointed towards a new cause for such floodings, namely climate change. It affects river basins all over the world. And it will intensify as the Earth keeps warming up. For many people, especially in developing countries, this will have disastrous consequences …
In my previous jobs at Shell and Unilever, I had been responsible for finding new oil and gas reserves and for moving goods all over the world. With a lot of greenhouse gas emissions as a result. I decided it was time to give something back, and started PW Advies.
It was before Al Gore’s movie ‘Inconvenient Truth’. The issue of climate change was hardly on people’s minds. But together with Henk van Schaik of the Co-operative Programme on Water and Climate, and experts from UNESCO-IHE, I developed the concept of the Climate Footprint. We successfully introduced it with launching customers Clifford Chance and Waternet in Amsterdam. And subsequently with many others.