Saskia van den Muijsenberg | Business Lessons from Nature
“Have you ever had an epiphany so strong that it turned your life around completely?” Saskia van den Muijsenberg starts off. “About 8 years ago, I had such a profound experience that it made me leave my job for another one in a field in which I was unexperienced.”
Van den Muijsenberg discusses how we can use biomimicry to create sustainable solutions to current environmental problems. We consider CO2 the evil of our era, but in nature, CO2 is a building block. A company called BluePlanet took inspiration from nature and invented a way to make cement and using CO2 as a building block rather than it being a waste. This made me realize that in fact, I am nature too; that we are all nature. For every need I have, whether it is staying warm in winter or living well in a community, there is a solution in nature. It made me question why we as humans use fossil fuels for energy distribution, while plants are actually using CO2 as a building block during photosynthesis.”
Since 2010, Van den Muijsenberg has been training and inspiring thousands of people and numerous companies with their sustainability challenges. Out of this experience, she feels the need to indicate the problem of our linear economy: we create waste, while in nature waste doesn’t exist.
“I’m researching how companies use nature as a model to develop their business models. Take Interface, a carpet company. In 1994, they set the goal to have no negative impact on the environment in 2020. And they used nature to achieve that goal. They used biomimicry to redesigned their production process. They used the idea of leaves to come up with carpets that consist of different parts, that represent leaves. Fishing nets are a great building block for making carpets. They now use abandoned fishing nets from the ocean to make new carpets. Thereby they are making a profit while cleaning the ocean.”
Van den Muijsenberg concludes by highlighting an important point: “Biomimicry is turning business from exploitative to regenerative. I’m happy for everyone that has a job in this economy, but at the same time, I’m worried about the economy we’re in. it is not circular, but linear. Instead of recycling, we are creating more waste than ever. Therefore I invite all of you to ask yourselves this question: ‘Would nature hire you again?'”