Marjan Minnesma studied business administration, philosophy and law. She worked for the Dutch government in Central Europe on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects from Albania to Estonia. She has been campaigns director for Greenpeace Netherlands and worked for ten years at different universities. Together with her co-director prof Rotmans at the Institute for Transitions (Drift) at the Erasmus University she founded Urgenda, as an action organization for innovation and sustainability to make the required transitions happen. Urgenda mainly worked on solutions, from organizing the first collective buying initiative for solar panels (citizens buying 50.000 panels at once) to the introduction in the Netherlands of the first electric car produced in series. However, as more speed was necessary, she brought the government to court together with almost 900 citizens to demand more action and won.
She also wrote the report and agenda for the Netherlands, “100% sustainable energy in the Netherlands in 2030; It is possible, if we really want to”, including all figures and pathways for the next fifteen years. The report consists of 5 chapters, in which is described what we need to do in different sectors. Urgenda is working on solutions in most of these sectors. Urgenda’s initiative “ThuisBaas’ makes houses energy neutral for 35.000 euro (the amount that an average family spends on energy in 15 years), helps people to organize this for them, guarantees “no energy bill at the end of the year”, while looking for new solutions all the time. Urgenda is also working on sustainable mobility. Furthermore Urgenda works together with many companies and other partners on realizing a circular economy in the region Friesland.
Marjan has been named the most influential person working in the field of sustainability in the Netherlands three years in a row. In 2015 she was declared to be a ‘leading global thinker’ by the authoritative American magazine Foreign Policy.