Young Agents of Change Day 2019

Last month, an eager group of recent graduates got a full-day crash course to learn what it means to be a sustainability consultant, what it is like to work at NewForesight, and how they can themselves be effective in bringing about change in their career. Do you want to get a grasp of some of the day’s main take-aways? Then read on!

Most of your chocolate still starts with child labor
Amazon fires are only going to get worse’
Deforestation due to palm oil production is still rising’

These are topics that you might read in the newspaper every day. Things you want to solve. You might have studied about change, written dozens of essays on it, talked about it. Now you are out of university and it is time to bring these ideas and ideals into practice. But how?

To show one possible answer to this question, every year NewForesight invites eager and promising recent graduates to the annual Young Agents of Change day. On September 10th, 19 of these Young Agents of Change got a full-day crash course to learn what it means to be a change maker and sustainability consultant, how they themselves can be effective in bringing about change, and what it is like to work at NewForesight.

“This is the third year that we’ve organized this event, and I think it’s here to stay. Everyone at NewForesight is intrinsically motivated to work on sustainability, and this is a mindset we want to spread to others. That’s why this is not a recruitment or promotion event; we want to provide young graduates with a feel of what their future in sustainability might look like, and motivate them to ignite change, wherever they may end up. My hope is that we’re helping to empower the next generation of sustainability leaders.”  – Guus ter Haar, Senior Consultant at NewForesight


NewForesight is a strategy consultancy that transforms sustainability challenges into shared opportunities. We are active in tropical agri-commodity sectors such as coffee, cocoa, palm oil, and cotton, where we support a variety of organizations in bringing together stakeholders to solve systemic issues such as child labor, deforestation, the living income gap, and water pollution.

You might want to bring change in the market through providing strategic advice to companies in agricultural value chain, doing research for a think tank, or aligning stakeholders to collaborate on shared sustainability challenges. At NewForesight, you can expect to work on all of this.

Young Agents of Change day

We were happy to welcome a very diverse group of high potential minds seeking for their role in tackling sustainability issues. Coming from many different educational backgrounds, ranging from agroecology to development studies, and from international law to urbanism, these future agents of change were motivated to wrap their head around the complex cases a sustainability consultant deals with every day.

“For my future career, I do not only want to find a job that I can sustain my life with, but I also want to do something to fight the injustices in this world. This mainly means transforming market systems that are sustainable for all of us, not just for the ones high up on the ladder. Learning more about NewForesight’s work during the YAoC day, I realised that achieving this goal is not as difficult as one might often think – and that there are many likeminded people who use all their energy and enthusiasm to bring about this change.”Charlotte Honnigfort (25), MPhil Development Studies, University of Oxford

The day

Founder and NewForesight CEO, Lucas Simons, kicked off the day by giving a course on the model of market transformation, which is at the base of NewForesight thinking. In a nutshell, the path of market transformation towards sustainable practice can be divided into four phases. For every phase there are typical characteristics and dynamics. Understanding these four phases would enable us to understand what needs to be done in order to drive the transformation forward.  

Being a consultant is as much about communication as it is about analysis. Therefore, attendees received a crash-course on giving and receiving feedback, communication, and presentation skills by senior consultant Guus ter Haar. An invaluable skill, not only in relation to your colleagues, but also to your clients.

In the afternoon session, the agents of change had the chance to bring theory into practice, and conduct a typical consultancy assignment themselves. The case study revolved around chocolate company Willy Wonka. Although the name sounds (and perhaps is…) fictitious, the case study represents very real practices that you encounter at NewForesight. Key question that they were looking to solve was: how can the market transformation model help you to give the client valuable advice on making its sourcing strategy more sustainable? The five groups were challenged to think from the client’s perspective, and in a short amount of time they came up with a good set of questions and advice. Young Agents learnt that consultancy is as much about analysis as it is about good communication to the client.

We look back at an inspiring day full of fresh ideas and discussions.

“The Young Agents of Change day was an immensely positive experience for me. It enhanced my knowledge significantly on how to transform markets in order to bring about lasting sustainable outcomes, while teaching me about NewForesight’s role in identifying the appropriate interventions to make and which stakeholders to engage, depending on the situation, to make this happen.

In the afternoon we had the opportunity to put this knowledge to the test through a real-world case study, highlighting in doing so the types of skills necessary to succeed as a Newforesight consultant and putting these skills to the test. This was certainly a very challenging but extremely rewarding experience.

Finally, the opportunity to meet and discuss issues with other likeminded young people and Newforesight consultants was hugely invaluable and enlightening.”Will Sharp (24), MSc Political Economy, University of Amsterdam

The world is changing, and you are a part of it. Issues such as rainforest fires, child labor or loss of biodiversity are interconnected problems that require systemic solutions. At Newforesight, you can be a part of tackling today’s tough sustainability challenges.  

Are you interested in attending the next Young Agents of Change event? Sign up for e-mail updates here.

Do you feel inspired?

In order to scale up this event, NewForesight is looking for companies and organizations to partner with in organizing these Young Agents of Change events. Are you interested to develop this event for the next generation of sustainability change agents? Let us know through .

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