Founder, Urgenda Foundation
Marjan Minnesma studied business administration, philosophy and (international) law. She worked five years for the Dutch government in Central Europe on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. She has been campaigns director for Greenpeace Netherlands and worked for ten years at different universities (VU and EUR). Together with her co-director Professor Rotmans at the Institute for Transitions (Drift) at the Erasmus University she founded Urgenda, as an organization for innovation and sustainability to make the required transitions happen. Urgenda worked as a front runner on solutions, from organizing the first collective buying initiative for solar panels (2010) to the introduction in the Netherlands of the first electric car produced in series (2008). However, as more speed was necessary, she brought the government to court together with almost 900 citizens to demand more action and won three times. This Dutch climate case sparked off numerous climate cases all over the world.
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. She is the Chair of the energy cooperation “OM|New Energy”, which is an umbrella energy company for 60 local sustainable energy cooperatives. In 2022 Marjan was awarded the Goldman Prize (“green Nobel Prize”) for her work.