Do not let Corona put a halt to the tackling of vital societal challenges

20 March 2020, Ralph van Roessel

All of us have to adapt to the new (Corona) reality. Tauw, as an engineering and consultancy firm, is working hard on this as well. So far, most of our office and other employees are perfectly able to perform their work on projects from home, with a little bit of flexibility and by making use of modern digital tools. That is good news for the society. After all, the many societal challenges that we are working on have not disappeared, even though the Coronavirus currently afflicts the entire world. Climate adaptation, biodiversity loss, the housing shortage as well as the nitrogen and PFAS problems continue to be highly topical problems. Putting these vital challenges on the back burner is therefore unacceptable, even if CO2 emissions have temporarily decreased due to Corona.

Unfortunately, even after only a few days Corona already seems to have become a limiting factor in relation to the continuation of the projects in which we are actually providing solutions to the above problems. I am not referring to illness on the part of our consultants and engineers, but to the impact that the Corona measures have on our, mostly public, clients. During the last few days projects have sometimes been suspended in a blind panic, hired staff has been sent home and consultations and meetings, which were scheduled months ago, have been cancelled. Not only is this a crying shame, but it is also completely unnecessary for the most part.

Modern and innovative firms such as Tauw, as is undoubtedly also the case for other firms in our sector, have an extensive range of knowledge and tools available to properly hold consultations and coordinate in a non-physical (digital) manner. Coordination meetings via Teams or Skype, residents’ evenings as a webinar, creative sessions using an app and decision-making on the basis of a digital poll - these are all tools that are available and have already proved their worth in practice during the last couple of years. Now is the time to make use of them in a far broader context. Even if you do not yet have any experience with, for example, Skype or Teams, we would be happy to help you master such tools, so that together we can continue working on important projects and societal challenges.

The commissioning organisations in the Netherlands and consultancy firms such as Tauw both have a responsibility to society – the responsibility to continue to make progress on the above-mentioned topical societal themes as well as to keep the economy going in this difficult time. Together, let us make sure that our projects continue. It might sometimes require a bit of flexibility and some goodwill, but together we are able to ensure, through digital cooperation, the continuation of the projects that our country so desperately needs. Surely, we will not let the awful Coronavirus put a stop to tackling the vital societal challenges?  

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