“It's no longer about whether or not we want our businesses to be sustainable. European Union has already implemented the Climate law requiring Europe’s economy and society to become climate-neutral by 2050. Under the EU Climate law, all the sectors of the economy play their part. Thus, it is only the question of which companies can quickly (re)design their business operations to be sustainable and climate-proof – and in this case, sustainability-related technologies can be a big game changer.”
Thuy Mai-Moulin, Fellowmind’s new Sustainability Manager started working in the company in August 2022 and has already important facts to share with all our blog readers. During the first weeks, she has teamed up with the Group Sustainability Director and as some other sustainability-minded fellows from different regions, including the Netherlands, Finland, and Sweden to establish a work program for the new Center of Excellence for Sustainability (CoE Sustainability).
Soon also one expert from Denmark will join the team. The overall goal is that the remaining Fellowmind countries, Germany and Poland, will also have their Sustainability Leads joining forces in the Center of Excellence for Sustainability. Read more about the appointments in our news article.
But who is Thuy and why did she choose to work in a technology company?
Witnessing pollution led to passion for sustainability
Thuy was born in Vietnam at a time when the country’s economy was growing at a fast rate, but, sadly, also the country was experiencing quick environmental deterioration.
“Already for more than 20 years ago I saw severe air pollution, wastewater discharged straight into rivers and lakes that poisoned aquatic plants and species due to industrialization. I wanted to make an impact to improve the environmental conditions, so I chose to study environmental engineering in a national university,” tells Thuy about her first years in the field of sustainability.
Later she had an opportunity to study Water Resources Engineering in University of Leuven in Belgium, as well as Environmental Planning and Management in Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands. “I chose to pursue both technical and management subjects to understand thoroughly what I could really deliver, not only on a national but also at global level.”
After completing her Master’s degrees, Thuy participated in many international projects through her work as Programmes Officer, Environmental Consultant, and Sustainability Expert & Manager in different organizations.
“I had opportunities to work with companies that have businesses operating on many continents. They have extensive supply chains that have an impact on a variety of workforces and communities. That triggered me to pursue extended subjects, not only on the environmental impacts but also on other sustainability impacts,” says Thuy.
Aim to help companies drive positive changes widely in a society
To understand more about various business impacts, Thuy enhanced the sustainability field further at Utrecht University from where she graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy two years ago.
Although Thuy has a strong background in topics such as bioenergy and bioeconomy, she also wants to deliver sustainability solutions for social and governance issues of companies, that is, compliance with international sustainability standards.
“So, sustainability efforts should be comprehensive. I aim to help companies drive positive changes widely in a society,” she emphasizes.
Technology is supporting sustainability efforts
Impressive career, indeed, but why a technology company like Fellowmind would hire an experienced sustainability expert in its team? Sure planning and implementing ERP solutions to customers has nothing to do with sustainability?
“It actually has a lot to do with sustainability. Technology companies can improve operations, optimize and better manage value chains, and enhance customer services, so that it saves budget for customers and also helps reduce energy consumption, lower emissions, and facilitate work conditions for diverse stakeholders, thus tackling various environmental, social, and governance impacts,” says Thuy. There are many examples that Thuy wants to point out.
The United Nations estimates that demand for food will increase 70% by 2050, so farmers need to get all they can out of the land to feed growing populations. Yet they must do so without degrading the soil or polluting the environment.
In the Netherlands, farmers have recognized that technology can help them understand further environmental conditions affecting agricultural yield and manage better the increasingly complex environment in which they operate.
Through a unique smart-device app called FarmViewer, developed by Fellowmind experts, the farmers are now able to make more informed decisions at every step of the agricultural cycle – from pre-planting to harvesting and beyond.
In Denmark a manufacturing company Vald.Birn has launched a project together with Fellowmind to collect energy and process data from melting furnaces, machinery and other production equipment. Vald.Birn melts down recycled metal into new products which requires a high volume of heating energy to keep the iron super-hot for processing. The aim of the project is to gain better data insights that can lead to decisions to significantly reduce energy consumption in the company and to reduce climate impacts.
Okay, I get it. But no example of an ERP solution yet?
“Yes, we do have ERP solutions as well. In Finland, a superfood producer Puhdistamo, with its Pureness brand on the international arena, just implemented a new ERP solution based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central,“ says Thuy. With the new ERP, the Puhdistamo team can now better plan and forecast its raw material purchases, production and logistics.
“This means there is less valuable raw material, such as goji berries that are no longer usable and have to be thrown away. Additionally, the customers can buy fresh products of high nutrition with the longest possible expiry dates so less superfood products are wasted at that end of the chain,” explains Thuy.
From Excel files to practical and intelligent sustainability tools
What about the future then? What are Thuy’s focus areas going forward and how will she be involved in customer projects?
“Fellowmind is establishing and implementing comprehensive internal sustainability policies and delivering sustainability-tech solutions to its customers. Thus, I will join forces with dedicated fellows, share sustainability knowledge, and train my colleagues on various sustainability practices. We now have a whole team of motivated and skilled professionals in place. I’m sure that together we are able to help many companies take concrete actions to move forward into a more sustainable future,” says Thuy and continues: “The European Union has clarified to accelerate the digital transition heading towards carbon neutrality. By combining sustainability-tech with all the other digital solutions, we can really deliver more powerful sustainability services for our customers and generate positive impacts for people on this planet.”
So, the work has started and there are already customers interested in our sustainability-technology solutions. Also, Microsoft has been active in talking about sustainability since its new solution Cloud for Sustainability became available as of June 2022.
“So far, recording greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has required a lot of manual work for companies to collect relevant information, place data on Excel file, and report their GHG emissions. Microsoft’s new solution is clearly an upgrade – it makes the reporting more efficient, user friendly, and up-to-date,” says Thuy.
“However, as the solution is brand new, it still needs improvements and we are closely cooperating with Microsoft in this development, pointing out the wishes of our customers to the developers.”
The work of the Center of Excellence for Sustainability at Fellowmind is, however, not only limited to the implementations of Microsoft’s Cloud for Sustainability.
“We are going to build Fellowmind branded tools to measure both environmental impacts as well as improve social and governance impacts along the business operations and value chains,” reveals Thuy.
“We also want to include sustainability angles to as many “normal” customer projects as possible from now on. It may involve a smaller or bigger part of the project but we will introduce various sustainability solutions to all our 2,000+ fellows so that actions are spread within and outside our company.”
For sure, there are a lot of opportunities and innovation potential in this area. “Sustainability work is my life passion, I do see the purpose of what we do and it is truly meaningful because of the positive impacts we generate every day,” says Thuy with a smile.
Who is Thuy?
Thuy Mai-Moulin began working as Fellowmind’s Sustainability Manager in August 2022. Besides her professional mission at Fellowmind, Thuy is also a voluntary reviewer for Elsevier publications and scientific journals such as Cleaner Production and Renewable and Sustainable Energy.
She is very interested in science and business revolution. She follows closely Andrew Huberman (neuroscience), David Sinclair (longevity and healthy lifestyle), Ray Dalio (business transformation), and Vanessa van Edwards (communication). In her daily life, Thuy enjoys reading, cooking plant-based food, and doing power yoga.