by Tom Bosschaert

Oct. 24, 2012

Tom Bosschaert

Dear friends, colleagues and partners, Yes, sorry for the wait, but here's a massive update; enjoy! We're happy to update you on important changes this fall: new projects, articles, as well as our new investment projects, and changes in management. This autumn proves to be an extraordinary time, as we see thrilling new projects around the world, an expansion of our services (with the IQS and Sustainable Island Scan), solidify relationships with partners (such as Eneco, DNV, DGN and Overview BV), and with tons of updates and articles. As always, we keep being inspired and grateful for the support we're receiving from around the world, thanks from all of us!


Most recent news:

For our most recent project we've partnered with Puresa Humanitarian to develop a self-contained life center offering survivors of human trafficking a safe haven to heal and strengthen, in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The life center caters to both rescued women and children of human trafficking, and will provide housing, food, counseling, medical care, education, complete aftercare in a safe atmosphere to 100 rescued children. For rescued women, the life center will provide a safe and healthy work environment for skills training and fair trade employment program, which employs the rescued women, empowering them with self-sustainability and independence.

The life center also contains agriculture, is self-sustainable in energy and water, and embedded in the natural landscape. It will be a place where souls can find hope, support is abundant, within a beautiful natural setting.

Puresa Humanitarian is an amazing non-profit working towards the reaching, rescuing, restoring and providing hope and freedom to survivors of human slavery. If you're able, please donate to to support their cause. If you feel you can help, contact Tom for details.


New services:

After 18 months of development, we've launched our Integrated Quickscan for Sustainability (IQS). It provides Small to Medium Businesses (SMB's) with one of the world's most complete, quick, affordable, and personalized insight into a company’s sustainability performance.

The IQS is aimed at high level strategic and long-term decision making, and is, true to our track record, accompanied by sexy infographics that express a deep and spectrum wide analysis. The IQS is offered in the Netherlands together with our partner Duurzaam Groep Nederland, and in the US through our main offices.

Read more about the IQS here, and feel free to contact Tim Horsten for details.


Island communities are vulnerable to rapid changes in economy, climate, fuel prices, material supply, and tourism trends. The Sustainable Island Scan (SIS) is a strategic tool for detecting and mapping crucial dependencies, identifying opportunities to strengthen the local economy and to realize flourishing island societies.

The integrated approach of the Island Scan is based on a streamlined process of our SiD sustainability innovation method that enables resilient, sustainable and beautiful island communities that are prepared for the future. We're currently looking at the Seychelles and the Canary Islands for pilot applications. More details here, and feel free to contact Michiel or Bob to find out more.


Using cutting edge tools to do our analysis, design and development work has always been one of the ways we can work faster and better together. In the last few years we've found available tools lacking in capacity and functionality, and rather than sit around and wait, we're developing them ourselves. This knowledge and experience for advanced software and websites is now offered to our clients as well.
These projects are headed by our chief software architect Tijn Schmits, who is now leading several development projects that provide quality web-based analysis tools and apps, including FlowMat, one of our investment projects.

One of Tijn's most recent projects is a brand new website for our new partner Syndesmo (new website not yet online), an amazing organization that implements new ways of working and mobility in organizations. More info on our software services here, and contact Tijn Schmits for further details.



New projects

Detroit is being rebuilt with a solid foundation for a prosperous, green and social future for its inhabitants; that's the aim of RecoveryPark, an organization that brings together the local community, urban agriculture and greenhouses, education, employment and retail to revive a large derelict housing area. This project is unique worldwide in scope, program and community involvement, and we love to support it.

We've set up a consortium of dutch partners, including Priva, Rebel Group, POSAD, and Overview BV and the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Chicago. Together we provide support to RecoveryPark with innovative design, development, management, technology and experience in self-sustaining urban agriculture and area development.


This new Except initiative aims to market, inform about and execute smart sustainable home renovations. It enables home owners to realize cost and energy saving solutions that previously were beyond their reach.

The first activites are working with an association of 80 home owners in Rotterdam, helping them to invest in solar panels, shared electric vehicles and a greener environment. This is a natural follow up to the House of Energy book we produced last year.

If you are interested in working with us on this topic, please contact Marten Witkamp.


Independent entrepreneurs are often not insured for illness or accidents due to the steep insurance costs. The Broodfonds ('Bread Fund') offers a great alternative; a group of 20 to 50 entrepreneurs insure each other, their premiums turning into savings rather than lost money.
There are a few places left in the first Rotterdam-based Broodfonds, co-started by Except. The next joining deadline is November 1st, which will see you insured from January 1st 2013. For more details on the working of Broodfonds, head over to (Dutch). If you are interested in joining, please contact Marten Witkamp.


Overschie is a bustling village within the city of Rotterdam. Social housing organization Woonstad and the city council of Overschie want to make this neighborhood more sustainable, but where do they start?

To answer this question, we performed a sustainability scan for the neighborhood, and made an inspirational booklet with a variety of options available to the inhabitants, city council and companies.

As a follow up, we organized a Stakeholder meeting on june 5th. This resulted in a spontaneous prize contest. Two winners are rewarded and received a budget to executing their ideas, and are working on this now. One prizewinner is RoCo member StudioExter - with a proposal to enhance the biodiversity in Overschie. Details about the project can be found here, and contact Michiel for details.


SWIG is a social cardgame with a sustainable wastewater processing theme. Players get to know each other, learn from each other, and discover as a group to invest in the opportunities that make wastewater processing more sustainable.

We developed the game mechanics in close collaboration with Det Norske Veritas (DNV) as part of the Wastewater Chain Roadmap (Routekaart Afvalwaterketen). For this roadmap project we also made a number of great illustrations. The game is played with much enthousiasm in DNV's workshops today. Details about the game can be found here, and for questions, feel free to ask the brains behind the game: Tijn Schmits. The illustrations on the cards were made by Yulia Ink, and those of the roadmap project by Matthew Fraser.


To allow small and medium businesses to quickly check where they are on the path towards sustainability, we built the PPP Check with our partner DuurzaamGroepNederland.

The check is a prelude to the comprehensive IQS scan, and gives a quick overview of a company's performance... for free. Check it out at



Community updates and events

Many of you have asked us how things are progressing in Schiebroek-Zuid, the neighborhood for which we made a plan for long-term energy, water and waste-neutral neighborhood redevelopment, embedding urgan agriculture, that inspired people and projects globally.

We're thrilled to report that progress in Schiebroek-Zuid is clearly visible: greenhouses for elderly have gone up, the entrepreneurial ateliers have been activated, attracting a number of social businesses, and over 20 urban gardens have been realized. The results are a visible improvement in the neighborhood, and excitement towards the coming changes. Read all about the local updates here (in Dutch), and about the whole redevelopment project here.


'Sustainability' is one of the most important words of the last few decades. It is the main driver of many programs and initiatives in society, and arguably the most important challenge of our century. As a sustainability innovation and development organization it's important for everything we do, and the vision and foundation for all our work. But what is "sustainability"'s real meaning, and how can we use it to get to where we want to go?

This article discusses why knowing what 'sustainability' means is so important. It discusses problems with old definitions, explains the new SiD definition of sustainability, and what it empowers us to see, do and discover. Related is the main article about SiD, available here.


We're proud to announce that we have contributed to the new book that Annemarie Rakhorst (Search B.V.) released last week.

The book (in Dutch) is full of examples of sustainable entrepreneurship and tips on how organizations can make sustainability part of its DNA. Michiel's comments and Except's idea's can be found in the book. We like to thank Annemarie for sharing this opportunity. The book can be ordered here. For details, contact Michiel.


Except speaks

In the past few months we've been lucky to travel all over the place (yes, by train) giving lectures, workshops and providing assistance in a variety of sustainability events.

Tom presented advanced sustainability renovation in Bruxelles at Activehouse, spoke about the inspiration of Except at the ARCAM lecture in Theatre de Brakker Grond in Amsterdam and the TUDelft, and presented Polydome at 'Proef de Stad' in Arnhem. Eva presented at TEDx Wageningen (video here), Arjan at the 'Top Duurzaam Vastgoed' in Rotterdam and he created a great Grid Night about flows, Tijn presented a lecture on our infamous 'money' Grid Night about alternative currencies, Marten led a workshop about sustainable area development in Hilversum and Michiel in Overschie.

We'll try to inform you on upcomming lectures as soon as we can... stay tuned!


Earlier this year, we were selected as a semi-finalist for the Buckminster Fuller Challenge for Sustainable Innovation, proudly ending in the top range of projects for this prestigious award.

Additionally we were awarded with a place in the Top-12 NL for the Koning Willem I plaquette prize for sustainable business in the Netherlands.


We're very glad to welcome several talented new members in our midst:

Eva Gladek, formerly Except's technical director, and Ariana Bain, two talented Except members, have started Metabolic Lab together. We wish them much luck and good tidings with their work on sustainable urban agriculture and industry.

Last but not least, we've developed new partnerships with Duurzaam Groep Nederland and Overview BV, and enjoy working together in various projects.


In case you didn't have one of our sexy little example books of sustainable projects all around the world, here's good news: now offers it, so you can get it even faster.

Ordering through our website gives those living in the US a rebate, and the book can also be downloaded for a voluntary donation.



We couldn't have done all this work without people like yourself, that talk about us on twitter, facebook or in late night inspiration sessions, and we couldn't do without the constructive feedback we receive. If you have any comments, suggestions or just want to shout 'hi', feel free to do so on the news page of this newsletter on our site.

Until then, we wish you a beautiful fall, sayonara and happy autumn!

Oct. 24, 2012