‘Exciting discoveries with financial focus,’ interview with Thijs Endendijk, PhD candidate VU Amsterdam

The REACHOUT series of interviews aim at collecting more personal views from colleagues developing and applying climate services for urban adaptation and resilient development, get more insight on the state of knowledge, the main ongoing discourse, and get a more concrete view of what their work encompasses. A sneak peek, so to say, behind the jargon and throbbing sentences used in policy documents and research proposals. Throughout the project, team members will complete a round of interviews. One colleague will interview another, and the interviewed colleague then conducts the following interview of the next team member and so on. As each member interviews and gets interviewed in this manner, all topics will be covered over the duration of this project. 

Read our latest interview featuring our partner Thijs Endendijk, PhD candidate at the Institute for Environmental Studies at VU Amsterdam interviewed by REACHOUT’s Communication Team

As the 7th city hub with a financial focus on climate impact, what has been the most exciting discovery working with cities in REACHOUT?

‘The 7th city hub has a special position within REACHOUT. In the Amsterdam city hub, we do not cooperate with the municipality of the city, but with pension investor APG. Hence, we focus on climate adaptation for the financial sector. Working with the financial sector on climate change adaptation is exciting, as this part of the economy is currently seeking how to address the challenges of climate change. The EU obligates institutional investors, such as pension funds and insurers to disclose the climate risks they are facing. This results in a quickly developing field of climate-finance. It is exciting to contribute to resilience building through my research.’

How would you describe the project and the work we are doing?

‘What makes REACHOUT special is the close connection between science and practice. Within science, a lot of progress has been made with respect to understanding climate change adaptation. However, it is often difficult for cities and businesses to use these insights in practice. REACHOUT really bridges this gap between science and society. For instance, we organized a Science-Practice Lab with real estate investors with the Amsterdam city hub. This way, I learn a lot from the REACHOUT city hubs, which also helps me improve my PhD research output!’

How would you suggest safeguarding the legacy of research/tools for REACHOUT?

‘I think there should be two main strategies to secure a lasting impact of REACHOUT. First, we commit in the production of high-quality, transparent and user-friendly climate services. Next, we rely on the city hubs to activate other cities within their network. These collaborations ensure the relevance of our toolkit and the effectiveness over time. The combination of an effective climate toolbox and a broad network of practitioners makes sure the outcomes of REACHOUT will be used in the long run.’

What would be an important next step in your line of work?

‘Within REACHOUT, I work on my PhD research, also closely connected to the work we are doing for the Amsterdam city hub. Financial institutions, such as pension funds and insurers face major risks from climate change, and thus have a high demand for climate services. My current work has focused on the impacts of flooding on the real estate assets these large investors hold. We found that flood adaptation measures have the potential to reduce flood damage with 30-40%. A next step would be to predict how flood risk affects real estate markets and investors, to see how the value of real estate investment portfolios is affected by climate change. Investors can adapt to climate risks when they have insights in the risks they are facing within their real estate portfolios.’

And last but not least, who would you like to hear from next?

‘I would like to hear from Sarah Wright, our project manager from Deltares.’

Not available yet

The climate story of Gdynia​

Short summary: A story about Jan and Maria during extreme precipitation.

Theme: Flooding

End user: Citizens

Link to the story: under construction