Let’s build a better future
Except Integrated Sustainability B.V. is a sustainability consultancy and design office founded in 1999, working on resilient, just, and inspiring cities, organizations, and industries. We work globally from our headquarters in the Netherlands to deliver innovative projects, concepts, and strategies, raising the bar of sustainable development.
We are a passionate, practical, and dynamic team known for our interdisciplinary and creative approach. Using systems thinking, we have worked on and developed hundreds of projects combining research, design, and business intelligence into ambitious and feasible solutions. At every step of the way, we work with public and private partners and engage stakeholders to advance the frontiers of sustainability and create better futures.
Global in experience and mindset, we are headquartered in Utrecht, the Netherlands, at UCo, our self-developed center for sustainable entrepreneurship. Housed in a renovated and circular heritage-listed and plant-filled office, it is a living embodiment of our integrated and regenerative approach to sustainable development.
Except’s team works extremely hard and invests unbelievable amounts of energy into solving a problem, making it their own and getting to the root causes.
I'm impressed by the team's energy, expertise, and commitment. It touches you on a personal level that everyone at Except recognizes the need for the transformation to a sustainable society.
Despite not getting our initially desired outcome, the project finished well within budget and scope, and the results are exactly what we need right now to be sustainable.
Except has excellent knowledge, resources, and a good work ethic. They provided realistic options for significant sustainability improvements in our region with innovative solutions. The outcome couldn’t have been better.
Since its founding in 1999, Except has been a purpose-driven enterprise with a mission to develop the foundations of a sustainable society. In 2019, we became a certified B Corporation (or B Corp), joining an engaged community of over 3,500 businesses globally that are pursuing the purpose in addition to profit and reinventing how we do business.
The Except Principles
In 2009 we published the Except Company Principles, which we have strictly adhered to since. These principles surpass B-Corp requirements and set a new standard for social entrepreneurs worldwide. This stringent ethical framework ensures our work is always fair, transparent, independent, and quality controlled, among many other values. They promote the practice of far-reaching health and well-being for employees and stakeholders, including a 4-day workweek, full workplace autonomy, profit-sharing, and a strong diversity policy.
Improving the future of our planet, one project at a time
Our projects, partners, and experts span the globe. After operating for over 20 years, we've been able to build an extensive portfolio of international best practices, perspectives, and lessons learned.
We draw lessons and knowledge from our experience and add to it with every new project we take on. Please review our extensive project archive to read about developments we've been able to share over the last two decades working around the world.
The Except Group
Except is an ecosystem of organizations, that together and in their own unique ways, support systemic sustainable development. In collaboration, the Except Group enables a wide range of partners to join forces and make a real difference.
The Except Group is spearheaded by the Except Integrated Sustainability Foundation, a certified and registered Dutch non-profit. Consultancy projects are managed by Except Integrated Sustainability BV, whereas Except Sustainable Ventures BV manages all investible development projects.
Except Integrated Sustainability was founded in 1999 by 19-year-old Tom Bosschaert while studying Industrial Design Engineering at the Delft University of Technology. Tom quickly found that both the academic and the corporate worlds were in dire need of more innovative and systemic strategies to address complex and global problems such as environmental destruction, poverty, hunger, and climate change.
Except was the vessel to set out and change this. Upon its foundation, Tom embarked on a lifelong journey and learning trajectory to not just find answers for our most pressing concerns but to develop better tools and frameworks to help address them.
In Perth, Australia, the first edition of what later became the Symbiosis in Development (SiD) framework, Except's comprehensive, integrated system thinking methodology, was first used to help find a solution for a struggling community in rural Western Australia.
SiD's integrated approach brought together the physical, environmental, economic, cultural, and social concerns in a single strategy and design process. The result was an unexpected, resounding success - a profitable Spirulina algae farm and community project with systemic environmental and social benefits.
Following this proof of working with SiD to find better solutions to societal challenges, Tom further developed SiD as a free, open-source framework for systemic, sustainable development. Except's team grew, using SiD to answer complex, challenging questions of organizations worldwide. At this time, the SiD process adopted more areas of systems thinking and design thinking and included lessons from Agile project management.
Tom used SiD to develop the seminal concept for the San Francisco Transbay Center / Salesforce park, boosting city-wide ecological values, social gain, and a successful business model. The concept won the decade's most significant global architectural competition. Realized over a decade and formally opened in 2020, this further proved the timeless power of SiD's integrated systemic approach.
Except moved its headquarters to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, coinciding with Except's founding of its first community of social entrepreneurs, the Rotterdam Collective (Ro-Co). Ro-Co is still operating and has supported approximately 500 social entrepreneurs since its opening.
Except published its master plan for converting the social housing neighborhood Schiebroek-Zuid. A project ahead of its time, enabling the transition of a problematic social housing area into a flourishing, socially connected community driven by ecosystem services. The financially feasible master plan ensured the site became energy and water neutral, socially connected, and provided >50% of its food needs from local production —a global breakthrough for social housing.
The Except Integrated Sustainability Foundation (Stichting) was founded to support the autonomous innovations of the Except team that aim to build the foundations of a sustainable society. Additionally, this project supported the further development and publication of the Symbiosis in Development (SiD) framework.
Except moved its headquarters to the city of Utrecht following the opening of its second, larger professional community, the Utrecht Community (UCo). UCo houses over 25 companies and 150 experienced sustainability experts in an exemplary renovated heritage-listed building designed and developed by Except.
Except counted more than 700 projects worldwide as part of its portfolio while having trained, supported, and facilitated more than 270 sustainability professionals. This year, the Except Foundation published the first complete book on Symbiosis in Development, spanning almost 20 years of development. The book is available today, fully open-source, and freely available in digital form from the SiD website.
Except chooses to focus on the most pressing problems of our time with a dedicated and agile team of experienced sustainability professionals from over eight different countries.