4 Minutes With…Joost Dubois, Director Branding & Communications, Bio-based Products, DSM

October 19, 2014 |

duboisTell us about your organization and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

DSM is a science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials. We pioneer conversion of renewable plant material to fuels or chemicals in our Biobased Products unit. By combining life sciences with chemistry and materials sciences, we develop technology in bioenergy and renewable chemicals.

Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.

I am responsible for developing the communication & branding approach to ensure delivery of DSM’s messages on the bio-renewable age to all internal & external stakeholders, including marketing communications and external affairs management. The unit is positioned at the heart of DSM’s strategic direction to move from a fossil-based to a bio-renewable based economy. While being essentially a small start-up operation within a global corporate, the unit is preparing for fast growth in a new business model for DSM. By 2020 the business unit will operate as a holding company for numerous joint ventures/partnerships from which proven technology will be licensed out to other bio-based entrepreneurs.

Focus:
1) Create and manage identities across partnerships —  developing key messages and brand identities with mother companies and JVs
2) Launch and position partnerships worldwide
3) Develop thought leadership position for DSM in an emerging industry
4) Internal communication

What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?

For fuel: (at least) maintain the supporting legislation in the US. In Europe this means everything still has to be built up from the ground. Brazil: remove the govt. fuel support

For chemicals: we need political vision. Without regulatory support, I don’t see this industry really pulling off to make the transition to the biorenewable age.

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change?

The total political inertia in Europe, primarily based on fear for the threats built up by a number of NGOs, and well supported by big oil.

Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you?

This is the way to go. The story is compelling – even to my children, who think I have a cool job (but have to travel too much to keep it credible).

Where are you from? 

Born in Amsterdam. Grown up in The Netherlands.

What was your undergraduate major in college, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway? 

Eindhoven University of Technology (on of the three UTecs in the Netherlands). I hold a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, and a master’s in Bio-organic Chemistry. I went there with the idea I would move into the biomedical field, but fate decided differently and I ended up with enzymes.

Who do you consider your mentors. What have you learned from them?

My parents (of course) and many wonderful people I met and had the luck to work with during my 26+ years at DSM.

What’s the biggest lesson you ever learned during a period of adversity?

Never give up, and never get stuck in one way of thinking. The key of getting through often is communication, and to effectively apply that wonderful tool requires understanding positions of all stakeholders.

What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry? 

Sailing and rowing (crew).

What 3 books would you take to read, if stranded on a desert island?

The local nautical pilot would be nice… For reading I would stick with any book from my two favorite Dutch authors: Harry Mulish and A.F.Th. van der Heijden.

What books or articles are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?

Salt Sugar Fat (Michael Moss)

What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday?

My place on the Belgian coast. Great weather, great sailing, wonderful food and good, West Flemish people.

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Category: Million Minds

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