Leadership Program 2018 – thoughts from Saskia Harreman

Published: 4 Oct 2018
Type: News

About me, Saskia Harreman

I’m the Director of International Consultancy Services for LeasePlan and I have a long history in the automotive and leasing sector. Back in 2005, I founded the International Consultancy division, with Sustainable Fleet Management being one of the cornerstones of the advisory program. I’ve guided many multinationals on their journey to lower the impact their company car fleet has on the environment. Today I’m the author of many LeasePlan’s papers on sustainability.


About LeasePlan and the reasons for joining the WBCSD Leadership Program

LeasePlan is a global leader in Car-as-a-Service, with 1.8 million vehicles under management in over 30 countries. LeasePlan's mission is to provide what's next in mobility via an “any car, anytime, anywhere” service. LeasePlan is also taking a leadership role in the transition from internal combustion engine to alternative powertrains and aims to achieve net zero emissions from their total fleet by 2030. 

Sustainability is one of the three main pillars of LeasePlan’s strategy and as such is, almost on a daily basis communicated about, both internally and externally. At LeasePlan, we want to bring sustainable mobility higher on the agenda of both corporates and individuals. As such, strong leadership and communication skills are required.

On a personal note I believe my work becomes much more meaningful if I can actively contribute to reduce the environmental impact of our fueled mobility on the planet. Hence there was a clear interest joining the WBCSD Leadership Program on Communicating Sustainable Development and Reporting to Stakeholders.

Why should companies send participants to the Program?

The Leadership Program is well balanced, providing academic insight and thinking in parallel to the pragmatic best-practice sharing from corporates. It provides in-depth personal development through assessments and team building exercises. WBCSD brings the student in contact with all possible stakeholders: business leaders, activists, investors, NGOs, academics, young entrepreneurs and experienced specialists, to name a few. Having the opportunity to listen to and learn from all these various opinions, all with the same goal of “achieving a resilient society” is an enormous gift. Being in continuous contact with peers for weeks, in order to develop oneself in a “safe garden” is much more effective and enriching than many corporate training or development programs.

Has the WBCSD Leadership Program helped in achieving the set objectives?

The Program has helped me to put sustainability for fleets higher on the corporate agenda and to connect and collaborate with customers and partners to achieve that same goal: a road to zero emissions! I feel more backed-up to talk with confidence about sometimes-sensitive topics such as finding the balance between People, Planet and Profit as I have access to science-based research and can bring situations and consequences more into perspective.

After each module, I did return inspired and energized with a wealth of creative, new ideas for services and initiatives on sustainability. Some of them have already been executed with great success. They have brought me in contact with very special persons and provided me with precious content for my thought leadership on sustainability.

My personal comments on the Program

Being nominated for the program by our Liaison Delegate, and supported by my supervisor, was a great asset for my career and a personal compliment. The Program and the assignments were challenging, requiring focus and strong time management, but were doable. It connected me with beautiful people I would otherwise have never met. It made it clear to me that only together and through collaboration can we become resilient for whatever the future brings us. It gave me food for thought to discuss at the dinner table at home and outside. My family supported me by giving me time and tea whenever I needed them. They joined me happily and sometimes less happily in shorter shower times, eating meatless meals and not wasting our waste so quickly. The Program gave me greater focus and purpose in both my personal and professional life.

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By choosing to continue, you agree to our use of cookies. You can learn more about cookies on our privacy policy page.