Interview: Creating a sustainable win-win
November 29, 2023

– To work inclusively, having everyone onboard is very important to me. Both from a business standpoint, and personally. We work with school kids yes, but our work with companies and policy maker is just as important. It’s only together we can create a sustainable future.

These are the words of Annemarie Voorsluys, the International Business Manager of Race Against Waste (edit: since this interview Annemarie has left the organisation). She, with a background in Sustainable development and Internationalisation, is one of the people that support Race Against Waste in growing internationally.

Annemarie Voorsluys

RAW (Race Against Waste) is a Dutch organisation that works in the schools to activate the young in creating a sustainable future. The organisation runs different kind of “races” – where school children campaign for a more sustainable life. RAW is a social enterprise, not dependant on subsidies – proof that you can combine profit-making with a social impact. As a purpose-driven company and organisation, being independent is important for maintaining adaptability and agility.
– We need to constantly stay sharp, to stay independent and to be able to trigger the system. We are paid for our services and self-sustained, thus adaptable to different contexts and societal changes, Annemarie Voorsluys says.

All important goal
RAW has a long-term goal; to build a sustainable society, based on a circular economy. Working with the young generation is one side of the work, the other to support growing sustainable business models.

Growing with the need
RAW has already has grown beyond its original national borders. Today you can find RAW in 4 (soon 5) countries. The goal is at least having franchises in 7 countries in just four years (2027). RAW partners with companies and is supported by cities for each separate project, or “race”. Annemarie’s work is to support the franchises in Germany, Spain, France, and the UK, finding and helping interested enterprises to set up a franchise in other countries. The goal is to organise “races” in more countries and to find cities that are interested in this.

Managing Director Timmy de Vos and International Business Manager Annemarie Voorsluys invites you to support Race Against Waste.

Talking to the right people
When asked how the RAW works, Annemarie talks about always keeping the subject alive.
– It’s part of our identity. We’re always focusing on the why, our purpose; a sustainable society. So, meeting the right people is important.
– To us, this means aiming both at the educational segment, and at waste management at city level, waste companies and companies with circular ambitions. Doing so, we can provide a sought-after service with a long-term impact to society. We talk to companies, local politicians, strategy makers, and everyone involved in the political agenda.

Together you can go much further and it’s much more fun!

Focusing on the young is vital
At the same time, RAW works in their “races” with the young. They are the ones that convey the messages on sustainability to the older generations.
– We focus on the young because they are very open to new ideas. And it also has a great effect on others. It affects their parents, their schoolwork, and what kind of knowledge they bring as grown-ups. Both emotionally and physically, as children are great influencers… if we help them in an ethical way.
– It’s important to remember that we don’t tell people what they should do. We’re offering pragmatic ways to find alternatives. It’s all about building public awareness. And as our races are aiming at helping children to build their own campaigns, they chose themselves what they want to focus on. 

Collaboration is a must
Annemarie points out that RAW is all about collaboration, whether it’s with schools or municipalities or companies.
– When you collaborate, it helps you set up and understand mutual goals. We need public private partnership; collaborating with local authorities and with companies to adopt races. We need to inspire them, into inspiring themselves: Once a race starts, all the involved parties can’t stop talking about it!

Expanding and enlarging the impact
Annemarie explains what she sees in the near future for her and RAW.
– First of all, 2027 we want to be in seven countries, compared to today’s 4-5 countries. We want to expand and to double our impact. And to do so we need to continue to inspire cities to become more engaged and other organisations and schools to do more of what we do, Annemarie Voorsluys finishes.


From the RAW homepage, in their own words:
“A world in which abundance is not taken for granted, but where we use what we need with care. What we buy and consume is made with respect for people who receive a good living wage and can work under dignified conditions. What we buy and consume is produced without the slightest detriment to our environment. This means no more emissions of harmful substances and substances that accelerate climate change. And that means that products or materials always return to the cycle. There is no further depletion of scarce raw materials from the earth, neither for our products nor for our energy.
We want a liveable world for everyone in a positive and enthusiastic way.”

Read more about Race Against Waste on the ACTE website
Race Against Waste own website
Race Against Waste’s Youtube channel

And read the ACTE White Paper on Textile Waste management. Just click here!