Pauline Op de Beeck

What is your favourite memory of Malvern College?

My favourite memory of Malvern College is the time spent with the friends that I made. To this day they remain my closest friends even though we now live all over Europe. I also loved History HL with Mr Allen which really inspired me intellectually and I still look back on after five years of University as the best course I ever took.

What attracted you to your particular career and what do you enjoy most about it?

I have always been passionate about the environment and I never considered any career path other than one focused on this. I chose to work in sustainability consulting because I felt this would be the best way for me to have a direct and immediate impact on the climate emergency by working with some of the world’s biggest companies. My specific focus on the fashion sector means I can align a personal interest with my work by helping the industry become more sustainable.

What part did Malvern College play in giving you the necessary skills for your chosen path?

The academic support and encouragement I received at Malvern College gave me the confidence to push myself at university and in my career. Being Deputy Head of House also helped me develop leadership and communication skills at a young age, building the foundation for now leading the Carbon Trust’s European office and engaging with high-profile clients. Taking Environmental Systems & Societies helped me to turn what was a passion and an interest into something that had academic grounding, from both a scientific and social perspective. This pushed me to focus on the environment at university and ultimately my career.

What are your ambitions?

Achieving the Forbes '30 Under 30' recognition in 2020 has increased my ambition to engage more of the world’s leading fashion brands and helping them decarbonise and to continue to speak at events and contribute to articles on fashion sustainability. Now that I am based in Amsterdam I am driven to run the office successfully, for it to grow in size and to increase our Benelux & French client base. More broadly, my ambition for the world, on a corporate, consumer and governmental level, is to accelerate the paradigm shift towards a more sustainable way of life so that we can meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

What advice would you give to current pupils contemplating working in your field?

I would focus on growing your communication skills helping you build a convincing case for climate action so that your passion can reach a broad audience and drive change. Reading up on the different needs for different sectors, countries and people will help you develop a holistic perspective. The climate emergency can be overwhelming, but focusing on an aspect you are most skilled to solve and are most interested in will help you narrow down your career choices and help you deliver impact on a daily basis.

What advice would you give to current pupils about making the most of their time at Malvern College?

I would really take advantage of the academic support that is available at Malvern College to help you hone in on your interests and unique skills and to make the most of building strong friendships as these are the friends who can be there to support you through the rest of your life.

Any final thoughts?

Going to Malvern College was probably the best decision I made as a teenager and, even though it was for two years only, it left me well equipped for my studies, inspired me to be ambitious and left me with an incredibly close group of friends who a decade on are just as important to me as they were then.