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‘Can we be more ambitious at Strukton?’

In May 2023, Manuela Struder started work at Strukton as Sustainability Manager. In this blog, she introduces herself and talks about her task of making Strukton an even more sustainable company.

I was born and raised in Switzerland. Ten years ago, I moved to the Netherlands for my job. My employer then moved to Copenhagen, so I went too. Later, I lived and worked in Sweden as well. In Scandinavia, social equality is taken for granted: men and women are equal there, and that really appeals to me. But I found the winters too long and dark and wanted to live somewhere further south. Which is why, ten years later, I’m back in the Netherlands. I live in The Hague, near the beach, where I can go for walks with my dog. And I’ve still got friends here from ten years ago, which has made it easier to feel at home.

More viable

Originally, I’m an urban planner and geographer. I used to be involved in the sustainable design of residential areas, for example. Even back then, I was attracted to the idea of sustainability. For me, though, sustainability goes further than just the environment. People are the key element here. I particularly enjoyed working on a project for a neighbourhood in Basel, Switzerland. There were 20,000 people living there, but the neighbourhood was densely built up, with very little in the way of green space. We rearranged all the available areas in a different way: seating areas to have coffee together, a corner for skateboarding, children’s playgrounds. All this helps people get together more often. And that makes a neighbourhood more fun and viable.

Quote icon However fun such projects are, I wanted to make even more impact. Quote icon

Manuela Studer


But however fun such projects are, I wanted to make even more impact. In 2017, I did a postgraduate degree in corporate social responsibility in Switzerland. That was a good basis for incorporating more ambitions relating to sustainability in my work. My work at Strukton allows me to do that. The company has established objectives for 2030 and 2035 with respect to emissions, waste, circularity, biodiversity and climate-neutral and fair working. It is our responsibility to translate those big abstract objectives into concrete steps and a time frame in which to achieve the goals. And to critically evaluate them: are we ambitious enough or can we go higher? Technology plays a role here too. What might be difficult today may be achievable tomorrow or the day after, making apparently impossible objectives possible.


It’s not just the substance that makes my work at Strukton an enjoyable challenge. I also get satisfaction from the organisational part. I enjoy working with people and I like bringing people and content together where I see a need. Because I’m convinced that we can get more done together than alone. The same applies to our companies in the different home countries. We all need each other. My international background and experience, and my understanding of different cultures, are very useful. Together, we can achieve more.

Plenty of work

And that’s necessary, because we have a lot of work to do and just doing the minimum is not enough. Not for ourselves and not for our principals – many clients are asking us to build emission free and require a good performance on the CO2 Performance Ladder, otherwise we’ll lose out on projects. But we also owe it to our fellow humans to do everything we can. The most vulnerable people in the most vulnerable places suffer most from climate change. The rich countries need to do something about that. So, it’s important that in a few years’ time, companies will need to report about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in their annual report. That will become a statutory obligation. For us, that means there’s plenty of work to do; we will need to incorporate these rules in our annual report from 2026.

Enthusiastic about sustainability

Since joining Strukton, I’ve mainly been collecting information, with the help of all the CSR coordinators and other colleagues in the company. A lot is already happening with respect to sustainability. Colleagues are very enthusiastic and enjoy immediately putting good ideas into practice. We need to ensure that all these initiatives are given a place in Strukton’s sustainability policy, so that we can secure the good ones and share them with each other. Strukton is a big company. Colleagues from one operating company often don’t know what colleagues in another company do. And that’s a shame. What’s more, not every measure works in each part of the company. Rail is different from road and concrete construction. Strukton in Sweden is different from Strukton in Italy.


I must say: my Swiss roots come in very useful. The Swiss tend to spend longer weighing up ideas and plans before they act. We like structure, embedding a plan properly. For that reason, I create a structured framework in which all the pilots, initiatives and projects relating to CSR are embedded, linked to the overarching objectives for sustainability. All our colleagues have access to that framework and can take part in project groups and projects. If initiatives and pilots are successful, we can then roll them out more easily throughout the organisation and thus achieve our objectives more efficiently and easily. I am sure that if we combine strengths from the different countries and cultures, Strukton will be even more successful in the field of sustainability.

"I am sure that if we combine strengths from the different countries and cultures, Strukton will be even more successful in the field of sustainability."

Manuela Studer

Manager Sustainability

+31 6 27 38 41 90

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