#7: The powers behind Meijer&Co Consultancy:
Meet Imard Veenstra

Mirjam Donáth
29 June 2023

As part of introducing the people behind the powers of Meijer&Co, meet Imard Veenstra, Partner and Consultant, and one of the brains behind the sustainability recruitment company.

Gen Z, people born in the late 1990s or the early 2000s when the internet and social media were already everybody’s playground, are more environmentally conscious than the preceding generations, statistics show. They look for jobs with employers who work for avoiding negative impacts on the planet. Imard Veenstra, one of the brains behind the sustainability recruitment company Meijer and Co Consultancy, is 25 years old. He shrugs off such epithet as “Gen Z” off him, calling it “one of those buzzwords”, but confirms that he himself works toward a greener planet by both creating possibilities for young people to find environmentally friendly employers and companies to become greener. With a name like Veenstra (that comes from the Dutch “veen”, which means “fen” or “peat bog”) Imard calls himself “quite a nature fan”. Born into a bilingual family with a Hungarian mother and a Dutch father, Imard became fluent in those languages, and added English, and a fourth, German, just for the heck of it. At the age of 21, he moved to Hungary to study management and leadership in German, fell in love with a Hungarian beauty, and found home close to Budapest's first skyscraper, the infamous Mol Tower. How does a young man maintain a sustainable lifestyle in a country that is slow to wake up to climate change? What are his goals in Budapest with Meijer and Co? What pulls him out of the bed in the morning? Let’s find out.   
Imard Veenstra speaks in a soft voice and very politely. He gives the impression of a business owner, who doesn’t necessarily want to be in the spotlight, but once he is pushed there, he shows nothing but confidence. Four years ago he left his motherland behind and moved to the land of his mother to reconnect with his roots and try his luck. Such a move, in Imard’s case a 1500-kilometer long one, requires a hell lot of courage and determination, especially if the country in question is Hungary: the land of one of the most difficult languages in the world and a  society more removed from the honoring of nature. Imard came from a very different world. He grew up in the Dutch countryside, surrendered by farming life, spending most of his playdates in the forest, with water being his other natural habitat. Following in the path of his ancestors, who were all skippers on boats, he has been sailing for his entire life – a habit that he successfully continues on “the Hungarian sea”, Lake Balaton. Here he taught sailing to young kids for three seasons. “What I love about sailing,” he says, “is that you are continuously looking out for your environment, basically, how to get from A to B, using the power of the wind, just the resources you have there on water.” His involvement with sustainability started at a young age in a farming  village in the Netherlands, where his family has been working more and more toward self-sustenance in the field of electricity by investing in solar panels on their roof and experimenting with converting an electric car into a battery for the whole house. “If I want to be honest,” Imard says cheerfully in response to the question about initial motivation, “our efforts to live sustainably have also a lot to do with the Dutch readiness to save money.”
It is undoubtedly easier to cycle among cows through the Dutch grass fields than jump on a bike in the traffic jam of smoggy Budapest to reach a client meeting in a business suit. Yet, this is exactly what Imard does daily, all year round. Today he doesn’t have a forest next to his apartment but a city park in which he likes to clean the grass from left behind garbage. He is not a complaining type. No proper selective garbage collection in his district? He invested in a composter and found a place for it on his balcony. Every month he brings the compost to Kiskunmajsa, a village in the South of Hungary, where his family has a house, and replaces the compost in the garden to fertilize it. “You can actually see how new roots are growing when you dig it out again, and so that’s really inspiring and helps to continue this habit,” he says. No recycling system for PET bottles, while in the Netherlands you can actually get paid by returning the empty plastics? Imard stopped buying prepackaged mineral water and instead, uses water filter at home. If there’s a will there’s a way. And this is precisely what he decided to show companies in the Central Eastern European region and make ends meet out of a passion for living consciously. “I feel there is a huge possibility now for our company to jump in,” Imard says. “Here in Hungary many of the inventions to protect the environment, like PET-reusing, are not yet in practice to help companies to achieve sustainability goals. Many people in the countryside still heat with wood and coal, sometimes even with oil. I think there's a huge opportunity for alternative ways to gasoline. I don’t talk from a strictly business point of view, because I also identify as a Hungarian, so care about the country. But I can also see the larger picture because when we pollute here, it goes beyond the borders of the country, it affects the world.” 
The mission of Meijer and Co, led by two Dutch who fell in love with Hungary, is to contribute to the efforts of companies in all fields to get into and maintain green practices and set their norms in the direction of a greener way of thinking. Imard might have 6 years of experience in sales but has been involved in the field from the age of 7 when he bred small aquarium fish and sold them online. As a co-owner of Meijer and Co he continues his profession by selling positions to people and people to companies. He is also in charge of selling consultancy services to clients. As for his experience for the time that he recently spent at Meijer and Co, he names solar energy and heat pumps as the “big things” more and more companies invest in. ”People do this hardware kind of innovations that are good for their CO2 footprint. But to hire experts, who basically only deal with ESG, and acquire real knowledge within a company is maybe newer for many.” Hence the reason Imard and his partner, Thijmen Meijer, opened the business in Budapest which, within 5 years, Imard hopes to see growing into “the first point of contact” regarding positions in the sustainability direction. “Maybe, indeed, we cannot save the world within 5 years,” he says, “but I’ll put my efforts into making our company the number one base to go to if you are looking for green talents.”
contact us

Sign up to our Green Talent Strategy Insights newsletter by filling out the form below

By clicking submit below, you consent to allow Meijer&Co to store and process the personal information submitted above to provide you the content requested. For our privacy policy click here!