An OASIS Staff Member’s Green Journey to ESG Meetings in Geneva

By Harm Jan van Burg, OASIS Open

My role as a Senior Policy Advisor on International Standards at OASIS Open often takes me to various conferences and meetings around the world. These days, many are conducted remotely, but sometimes it helps to be in the same room as your colleagues. This week, I’ve had the honor to help lead the third working meeting of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Team of Specialists (ToS) on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Traceability of Sustainable Value Chains in the Circular Economy.

The conference (at UNECE’s historic and gorgeous Palais des Nations headquarters in Geneva) is attended by ESG experts from all corners of the globe. Government representatives, trade associations, industry professionals, and other international organizations were all present, demonstrating the significance of the topic at hand. I had the privilege of serving as vice-chair and moderator of a session on ESG traceability in supply chains.

During the meeting, I emphasized the importance of integrating ESG reporting and monitoring into existing industry practices. Our goal was to ensure that these new requirements, which serve important goals. wouldn’t create additional reporting burdens but instead become a natural part of existing trade and transactional frameworks. We also stressed the need for transparency and responsiveness to evolving customer demands regarding circularity efforts. By aligning these practices with established reporting mechanisms, we can achieve more effective and efficient traceability in supply chains. The work we do here is essential for shaping the future of ESG traceability and contributing to a more sustainable and circular economy.

One aspect that made this particular meeting unique was the way I chose to travel. I decided to make the journey south from my home in the Netherlands to the meeting in Geneva in my campervan. Not only is this a more sustainable choice, but it also provided me with a cost-effective solution in the notoriously expensive Swiss city. It has been quite an adventure, so far, navigating the roads and having my own office on wheels.