Interview: Verena Timmer introduces herself
Four questions for Verena Timmer, who joined corsus in September 2023 as Senior Consultant
What did you do before you joined corsus?
For the past 10 years, I have been working as a research associate at the Centre for Sustainable Leadership (ZNU), focusing on how companies can design and implement sustainability management systems. Since 2023, I have been heading the research area at ZNU together with Julius Wenzig – so we have succeeded Dr Ulrike Eberle at ZNU. However, I do not only research sustainability from a scientific perspective: Even before joining corsus, I gained 8 years of experience in a sustainability consultancy and was able to successfully support companies in developing and implementing sustainability strategies and in sustainability reporting. In addition, I have been teaching the module “Sustainability as a Change Process” at FH Münster University of Applied Sciences since 2018. I wrote my PhD on the topics of routines, change management and algorithms.
corsus advises on sustainability. What do you associate with sustainability?
As an oecotrophologist, I was already concerned early on with the question of where our food comes from and how it is sourced in its regions of origin. In my Master’s degree in “Sustainable Service and Food Economy” in Münster, I then looked more intensively and scientifically at the effects our consumer behaviour has on ecosystems and people involved in the value chains of our food. During my stays abroad, I was increasingly confronted with the effects of human intervention in ecosystems. Particularly impressive for me was how in New Zealand the retreat of glaciers can be observed and how a massive piece of glacier broke off right in front of us into the glacial lake. It was equally moving to see how poorly people in countries near the tropics or in Asia live in tin huts. They toil all day in scorching heat on plantations from which companies source tea and coffee, which is sold on our European shelves in stylish packaging and which does not show the conditions under which the raw materials originated. Or seeing a plane dumping pesticides on an orchard where people were working at the same time – without protective clothing, of course. That didn’t let me go any more. I then started to question more and more: What contribution do different actors make to global developments and to various value chains? Which companies obtain their raw materials and how, and are thus involved in the exploitation of people or serious interventions in ecosystems? And then to ask the question: How can actors – and thus also companies – take on more responsibility?
Is there a topic that is particularly close to your heart?
For me, sustainability is a holistic approach and that is exactly what makes it so fascinating and appealing. All three dimensions of sustainability – ecological, social and economic – are close to my heart.
Corporate responsibility, organisational change processes, sustainability strategy development and biodiversity are precisely the topics that I am working on particularly intensively.
What are you currently working on at corsus?
I am looking forward to getting to know the great team. I will certainly learn a lot of new methods. At the same time, I will also bring my experience into the corsus context. And of course I am also looking forward to developing sustainability strategies together with companies and helping them to realise them.