Julian Quandt introduces himself

Four questions for Julian Quandt, who joined corsus as a consultant in January 2022:

What did you do before you came to corsus?

Before my journey at corsus began, I was employed in various european and national research projects at the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft e.V. As an engineer in applied research, my tasks ranged from requirements engineering, planning to the development and testing of innovative solutions. I had to make many decisions that affect all downstream processes. In this position it is essential to always keep an eye on the overall context. I have included aspects of sustainability in the decision-making process as often as possible. The interdisciplinary way of working and the wide range of tasks particularly appealed to me. In this way I was able to gain a lot of experience in the field of innovation development, digitization and sustainability. The project work also developed more and more in the direction of sustainability with topics such as smart & sustainable agriculture and sustainability in SMEs. On a bike trip through South America, I then made the decision to devote myself fully to the topic of sustainability. A degree in the field of sustainability sciences, a very good thesis on the life cycle assessment of the biodiversity impact of raw materials in modern electric vehicles brought me to corsus. I am incredibly happy to be part of this wonderful team and to be able to devote myself exclusively to sustainability assessment, classic life cycle assessment and biodiversity impact assessment in different contexts.

corsus advises on sustainability. What do you associate with sustainability?

For me, sustainability ultimately means getting a little closer to “nature”, finding satisfaction in frugality and taking a direction as a society that is in harmony with our natural environment. It is a task for society as a whole that affects everyone and in which everyone must be involved. Whether human, plant, microbe or animal. We have to realize that with everything we do we have an influence, but we also can have an influence. We can shape our future in such a way that not only we, but also all other generations after us can lead a good life. To do this, we have to look at things holistically, consider possible long-term consequences and risks, take responsibility and learn from mistakes. I’m not a fan of scaring people about the future or answering questions of guilt. I’m much more interested in creating a positive vision and paving the way to get there.

Is there an issue that is particularly close to your heart?

It is particularly important to me not to lose touch with our natural environment. To understand and question where everyday things come from and how they came about. To put it bluntly: the milk doesn’t come from a tetra pack, the electricity doesn’t come from the socket and the cupboard doesn’t come from the furniture store. Behind everything we consume and use, there is a natural product at the beginning of the value chain, which we take from nature and transform until it becomes what it is. If we keep reminding ourselves of this, we will hopefully get to the point of appreciating our natural environment more again.

In my opinion, climate change, species extinction, acidification and all other negative effects of the anthropocene are not exclusively the result of conscious action. I don’t think the majority of people get up in the morning and say to themselves, “Today I’m destroying the planet”. We need to see people as emotional beings with individual needs and challenges. For this reason, it does not help to condemn individuals, for example, because of their flight behaviour. Of course it is good to fly less or not at all, to avoid meat and to take cold showers. Of course we have to raise awareness of the consequences of our actions. And of course consumers also have a responsibility. However, the problem has another component. If we really want to change something, then sustainability, social justice, climate action and species protection must become an attractive and integral part of our daily activities. In short: It must be worth choosing the sustainable alternative in the supermarket or preferring the train to the plane.

What are you working on at corsus right now?

I am currently involved in several projects that revolve around the sustainability assessment of products and economic sectors. One project is funded by the Federal Environment Ministry and revolves around the sustainability assessment of food in various target regions. The main goal of the project is to develop a tool for evaluating and communicating the environmental impact in a way that is appropriate for the target group. I am currently gathering information on the environmental impact of legumes, fishery products and dairy alternatives.

The other project deals with biodiversity risks along supply chains. The aim is to identify potential biodiversity risks in the value chain for several economic sectors to compile them and to develop risk minimization strategies. After we recently decided on the vehicle construction, animal feed, oils & fats and fisheries & aquaculture sectors, it is now a matter of obtaining data and using suitable evaluation methods. We are currently evaluating the availability of data to perform Environmentally Extended Input Output (EEIO) analyses for the above industries. We use multi-regional input-output tables as a basis for this.

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