In the latest in the series of monthly Green Leaders Q&As, in partnership with Vision: 2025, we hear from Mitchell van Dooijeweerd sustainability coordinator at the globally renowned DGTL Festival, and their Revolution Foundation in the Netherlands.
He provides sustainable and circular systems for festivals, events, and organisations, to provoke a radical shift in the behaviour of event-goers, partners, businesses, and governments. Their projects are a pioneering demonstration of transition to circular systems – a new economic paradigm, in which we distance ourselves from the ‘linear’ (take-make-waste) era – without compromising on quality or experience. Read his answers below
What is the proudest sustainability achievement or moment of your career?
The Green Catering award for DGTL by A Greener Festival.
What was your worst ever sustainability-related decision, project or initiative and why?
Cardboard and chalk signing when it turned out to be raining…do I need to say more? Haha!
What are you excited about implementing in the future?
We are really excited to take the next steps toward a fully circular DGTL Festival: all the challenges we have worked on in recent years are now coming together in one circular festival.
Which environmental issue do you most care about?
What sustainable change have you made in your personal life that you are most proud of?
I cycle a lot, as transport and as a hobby (200km per week).
What do you read to stay in touch with green issues?
Books and internet.
What is the most memorable live performance in your life?
Octave One and Henrik Schwarz live, that gave me goosebumps!
Was there a moment you committed to taking action on climate change?
I started collecting waste voluntarily at festivals at a young age, I suddenly understood why our behaviour should change drastically.
What are the most important issues to tackle at your event?
Ensuring that everyone feels responsible for sustainability.
What do you think is the most significant challenge for the events industry becoming more sustainable?
Lack of data for material flow and footprint analysis.
Can you share something sustainable about/from another artists or event or company that inspired you to make a change?
Circular sanitation was only possible abroad, which inspired me to get it done in Amsterdam City.
What is the secret to your sustainable success?
Bringing the right people together.
Tell us something you feel positive about right now that relates to the environment
The fast-growing awareness among people.
Tell us a book, film or recent article you feel others should watch/read and why about positive change?
How to avoid a climate disaster – Bill Gates. He can explain complicated subjects in a pleasant and applicable way.
Can you give people new to sustainability in events a top tip?
Only what gets measured, gets managed – collect data!
What is the favourite festival moment of your career?
Backstage at DGTL in Amsterdam when we realised how happy 40,000 people were – at the festival that we had built with the entire team.
What habit or practice has helped you most in your personal journey in life?
Being the solution: inspiring friends and colleagues with amazing plant-based meat substitutes.
Is there anything new or exciting you are planning or changing for the future that you can tell us about?
We are learning from astronauts to use resources efficiently, so we are using space technology to convert pee into a delicious cup of tea. Who dares to taste it?!
Will we save the world?
Definitely, and we will do it together!
What would your sustainable super-power be?
Zero emission time traveling.
This Q&A originally appeared in Vision: 2025’s May 2021 newsletter. Find out more at www.vision2025.org.uk