Impact Steward Tim van Rees: “on the green path”


Every month, we put the spotlight on an Impact Steward. This time, it’s sustainable supply chain expert Tim van Rees. With 25+ years of experience in logistics and supply chain in healthcare and life sciences under his belt, we can call him a logistical wizard. What is his background? What motivates him? And what is the green benchmark with 6 pharmaceutical companies he works on?

Tim, what is your professional background?

I have been working on logistics and supply chains since college. After working in logistical management roles, I transferred to consultancy about 20 years ago. Since 2015, I have mostly worked on supply chain projects for medical and healthcare logistics. What I like best about my work is making medication available and improving patients’ quality of life. Moreover, there’s a big sustainability challenge in life science & healthcare.

Any project highlights?

A great example is developing a patient-centric supply chain. It was for a company that produces and delivers innovative medical treatments. We helped its supply chain department put patients first in their daily work. We improved the delivery processes and made innovative cancer treatments from home possible.

What kind of projects are you working on right now?

Currently, I’m working on a project for a life sciences company aiming to reorganise its operations, encompassing all logistics aspects. The company asked us to design a future-proof supply chain, considering people, the planet, and costs. Apart from the operational aspects, we looked at what’s best for employees and what would lead to the most CO2 reductions. Now, we help them implement these plans. It’s exemplary for our work at Impact Stewards. We make a positive impact and stay and help until everything works in practice.

The advantage of working on supply chain projects is that you can reduce CO2-emissions and costs. It’s what I call the ultimate backstage pass.

Tim van Rees

Any more impactful projects?

I’m thrilled about the Sustainable Supply Chain benchmark we created. It is based on scientific insights from my Sustainable Supply Chain Management education from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT CTL). The benchmark focuses on the so-called Scope 3 impact of supply chain departments of life sciences companies. As of this year, EU CSRD legislation requires many companies to report on and reduce this impact. Currently, 6 renowned pharmaceutical companies are part of the benchmark. Soon we will discuss the results in a round table session.

How will the benchmark support pharmaceutical companies?

In supply chain management cost-to-serve is a key indicator: which costs are down to my activities and my products in the supply chain? Now, we can add carbon-to-serve: how much C02 is emitted per product? Where are so-called carbon hot spots and how can we tackle them? There’s a lot to be gained here. You could change how clients order, how suppliers deliver, and how you pack your products. The nice thing is that cost-to-serve and carbon-to-serve go hand in hand. For example by flying less and shipping more, delivery becomes cheaper and more sustainable.

This focuses on CO2 emissions. How about the other aspects of sustainability?

Indeed, sustainability is a much wider concept than lowering CO2 footprints. In supply chain management, CO2 plays a big part. Reducing these emissions could be the beginning of your sustainability journey. It’s what I call: The Green Path. It starts with a first benchmark and leads to a balanced improvement program. Not only does it address the ‘hard’ side: costs, C02 emissions, and investments in stock and assets. It also focuses on the ‘soft’ side: the changes you will make within your organisation and with suppliers and clients.

Is the benchmark open for more organisations?

Of course! In April, we will start another round. You can contact me and I will discuss what participating entails.

What motivates you in your work for Impact Stewards?

The projects and sectors we work on are always impactful. The pharmaceutical sector accounts for 4% of the world’s CO2 emissions. The majority of these emissions take place in the supply chain. Moreover, there’s still a lot of waste. The advantage of working on supply chain projects is reducing emissions and costs. It’s what I call the ultimate backstage pass. It’s where stuff happens which is not always visible to many people.

“Tim always elevates a project with his sharp insights and creative solutions. His experience is invaluable to our team.”

Patrick Filius, chief impact steward

Curious what we can do for you?

Patrick Filius

Chief Impact Officer

Chief Impact Officer