Skip to main content Skip to footer

Pieter van Exter

At Metabolic, Pieter is working every day on rethinking our production systems to meet human needs within the boundaries of our planet.

For four years, he led the industries division within Metabolic Consulting where he focused on circular economy and decarbonisation projects. Recently, Pieter joined Metabolic Software to develop and launch Link, a SaaS product that allows companies to assess their impacts related to nature and biodiversity.

Listen to the episode

Tune in to find out about:


  • Pieter van Exter and his journey into sustainability.
  • Metabolic and their five core areas of operation that together form the “Metabolic Ecosystem” and how system thinking, understanding and analysing the dynamics and the interactions between systems bind all these different entities together.
  • Industrial ecology and how it relates to Cradle to Cradle.
  • How Metabolic's software tool, Link, focuses on understanding, reporting, prioritising and addressing impacts and risks related to nature and biodiversity, combining science-based methods with user-centered design.
  • Concrete examples of Metabolic's work that include developing a circular economy strategy for the city of Rotterdam and implementing a Circular Intensive Care Unit at the Erasmus Medical Centre.
  • The importance of circular economy thinking in the renewable energy transition, including anticipating barriers and risks, such as critical minerals, and the need for new mindsets focused on reuse, repair, and recycling.
  • Metabolic's Living Lab project, De Ceuvel, that serves as a physical space for experimenting with circular economy solutions and engaging people in envisioning a sustainable future.
  • Opportunities for engineering and software to improve existing operating systems.
  • And much more!


S7E7 Audiogram image


Barry O'Kane  00:10

Hello and welcome back to HappyPorch Radio season seven. Today we had the incredible honour of speaking to Pieter van Exter. He is working every day on rethinking our production systems to meet human needs within the boundaries of our planet. For years, he led the industry's Division team within Metabolic Consulting, where he focused on circular economy and decarbonisation projects. But recently, Pieter joined Metabolic Software to develop and launch Link, which is a SaaS product that allows companies to assess their impacts related to nature and biodiversity.  Emily, this is one of my favourite conversations, I think for a long time.

Emily Swaddle  00:43

Yeah, it was a good one. I feel like, we sort of, got into a lot of things in a way that's very exciting and allowed that like emotion to come out a little bit. And that's always my favourite parts of the conversation.

Barry O'Kane  00:54

Yeah, you always ask amazing questions. And then I'm too busy focusing on geeking on practicalities and details.

Emily Swaddle  01:00

I mean, there was a lot of stuff to, for both of us to geek out about. I feel like Pieter has shared his story with us about why this became important to him and why it remains important to him. And I think that those sort of personal details are really, really engaging, and really touching and really relatable. You know, there's, like, so much that we can all relate to in that.

Barry O'Kane  01:19

Absolutely. And then in the last quarter, the last third of the conversation, after some fascinating conversation, and amazing topics about Metabolic and about the systems thinking, the overarch is everything that they do. We then went into a lot of detail about the reason he shifted to software, and a specific type of work that they're doing within Link, their SaaS tool, which I enjoyed. And he was very open and willing to share some really detailed information about how they're trying to tackle, what is a very big, meaty problem with the software.

Emily Swaddle  01:54

Yeah, and Metabolic is a company that I've been aware of for quite a few years, they're based in the Netherlands, I used to be based in the Netherlands. Their Living Lab project, which is a physical place you can go and visit is something that I've been to a few times, and it's always a real place of intrigue and curiosity and inspiration. So, it was really great to have a chance to talk about that as well.

Barry O'Kane  02:15

Something for everyone. And so without any further ado, let's meet Pieter.

Pieter van Exter  02:20

Hi, my name is Pieter van Exter. I'm the Director of Product at Metabolic Software. And Metabolic is a Systems Change Agency that’s striving to transition the global economy to a fundamentally sustainable state where both people and nature thrive. And the Circular Economy is at the heart of all the work that we do. Before my role as Director of Product, I've been leading the industry's team within Metabolic Consulting, where we really worked with decision makers on finding pathways and strategies to a circular and sustainable and resilient future. 

Barry O'Kane  02:55

Brilliant. Thank you, and welcome to HappyPorch Radio. 

Pieter van Exter  02:57

Thank you. 

Barry O'Kane  02:58

So we always like to start a little bit talking about where what brought you on this journey and where you started. There’s an excellent little teaser in your Bio, on the website, talking about an organic farm. So I'd be interested in, I guess, in hearing why you do the work you do now and why you were driven to it.

Pieter van Exter  03:15

So let me start and even before the teaser that you can all see on the Metabolic website, what led me to start working on the farm in California. This was in high school, I had a chemistry teacher, and she just joined the school. And she came from Shell of all companies and one class where we were all preparing for like another hour of chemistry and formulas, she stopped the class and said like, Okay, we're going to watch this documentary, you all need to watch this, we're not going to do any chemistry. And what she showed was a documentary about Cradle to Cradle. And I remembered that I was, like, flabbergasted and so inspired by the idea. That notion, on one hand, the urgency of the problem, but also the elegance for the solution. And that started this journey for me. And as soon as I got out of high school, I wanted to explore if this was really something that I wanted to devote my career to. And one of the things that I wanted to do is go out and experience what climate change is and what agriculture and food systems look like. And I went to California, where I worked on the farm for a couple of months. And that is where drought and effects of climate change were already really visible. So that was an important moment for me. And then later, I went closer to home and started joining Urgenda. Urgenda is a Dutch NGO that's, I think internationally, most known for suing the Dutch Government successfully for not following the Paris Climate Accord, learned a lot from the people there and then applied for Industrial Ecology Programme, which is often called as the Science of Sustainability.

Barry O'Kane  04:46

Awesome. I really liked the way you describe the Cradle to Cradle. Exposure to Cradle to Cradle. We talked about the magnitude of the problem but also the elegance of the solution and Cradle to Cradle, obviously for listeners will link to more details about Cradle to Cradle but it's a pretty awesome certification. I guess and standard around products, full lifecycle and circularity and more even. So, what I'm interested, though is when you mentioned elegance there, that doesn't mean necessarily simple, right?

Pieter van Exter  05:14

No, absolutely not. And I think while later on, one of the criticisms also for me is that maybe it is being put a bit too simplified by the Cradle to Cradle founders. But no, it is about elegance. And as simple as possible, but not simpler than that. It's about also embracing complexity and all the dynamics and interactions that you would find in nature.

Barry O'Kane  05:33

And then you talked about doing industrial ecology. So we haven't touched on industrial ecology. I don't think in this podcast very much. I'd love to maybe just hear you talk a little bit about that, and how that helped with your journey, then eventually to Metabolic.

Pieter van Exter  05:44

Yeah, so I think there's always like two parts about industrial ecology. Industrial Ecology is also later being the inspiration for the Cradle to Cradle. And later on, there's also been a lot of, like, argument discussions between founders of the industrial ecology movement, and the Cradle to Cradle family. One of the Gurus in industrial ecology is called Graedel. So you had like this “Graedel versus Cradle”, but it's more a side note. So in industrial ecology there's like two sides. One is to quantitatively assess the environmental impacts of systems. So it's a toolbox of methodologies like lifecycle assessments, material flow analysis, environments, input output analysis to put numbers and data and facts to sustainability. That's a really important part. But I think the more inspiring and equally important part is the metaphor. So industrial ecology is about designing industrial systems. So our consumption and production systems in analogy to nature, to ecosystems, where waste doesn't exist, where indeed there is this complexity and this interaction between different species, different entities within the system that, at the system's level, create the most optimal state. So learning from the billions of years of evolution. So biomimicry is an example of that. But this is more designing at the systems level.

Barry O'Kane  07:06

And then I was interested in how that led on to Metabolic but I think there's already a really clear connection there. Would you describe you’re sort of falling naturally into that systems thinking side?

Pieter van Exter  07:15

Yeah, sometimes, at least internally, we also refer to Metabolic as kind of, like, an applied Industrial Ecology Firm Agency. So a lot of our work, that systems analysis, that quantitative assessment, but also that view on solutions, integrated solutions is really what Metabolic is doing day in, day out. So it was a really logical fit for me.

Emily Swaddle  07:38

I have a question, just before we sort of move into Metabolic and what they're all about and what you do there, because you've taken us on this nice journey of yours learning about all these things, and connecting, you know, the natural world with the industrial world. I'm just wondering, like, on a personal level, like, how did it feel to learn all those things and be exposed to those ways of thinking? And maybe, like, realise the situation that we're in as a planet?

Pieter van Exter  08:06

That's a really good question. It's fluctuating a lot for me. It's a bit like an emotional roller coaster. For instance, this farm in California, where I spent months working with an amazing family, was like introduced to an amazing community that was working day in day out on that farm, a couple of years later, that whole farm was just burned down by forest fire. And those are moments that it really hits you, right? So it makes this direct connection and emotional connection. And that happens much more often also, when there's no direct relation for me. I often feel anxiety when I read the new IPCC report. I also have now a newborn, a two year old and concerned about its future. At the same time, I'm also happy that I have, let's say, access to understanding this system and understanding what's happening, and also be able to devote my work and great part of my life to solving this. So I'm happy that I'm also able to understand what's happening and what a solution could be.

Emily Swaddle  09:06

Yeah, so Wow. I mean, it was like those personal connections to this global situation, you know, having that farm that, you know, be destroyed by wildfire. And then also the connection with the next generation through your child. The whole, sort of story, the whole transition becomes so personal. I think everyone working in this space or so many of the people that Barry and I have spoken to, they have that sort of really personal connection, and it makes it so much more powerful. And as you say, it is then a really positive thing that you can be part of the solution through the work that you do.

Pieter van Exter  09:40

Yeah, thanks. Yeah, that really helps me, I guess, cope with it and find purpose.

Emily Swaddle  09:44

Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. 

Barry O'Kane  09:46

And let's try and tie those two things together, two things being that your personal journey in that purpose. And then we started talking a little bit about what Metabolic actually does. Can you share a little bit to try and make that real, some of your favourite stories or examples of the type of work that you've been involved in in Metabolic. In a moment, we'll also talk about Link and the Software, but first, the broader work or the previous work you were doing.

Pieter van Exter  10:08

Metabolic is doing a lot of things. So maybe it's good to just quickly introduce kind of like the structure of Metabolic and kind of like how we approach systems change. And then I'll give some concrete examples that I think that depict how we can effectively work together. So Metabolic has five core areas of operation that together form the Metabolic Ecosystem. So we have Consulting, which is a big important part, kind of like the heart of Metabolic, which does a lot of work with cities and governments, but also with corporates and NGOs, helping them on their problems using the same system thinking and to guide them. We have an Institute, which is our non-profit think tank, where we look at, let's say, overarching problems for a longer period of time. We have Ventures. And Ventures is really about making and growing and accelerating really good ideas and scaling them in such a way that they stay true to their core, to their mission and to their ideas, and really apply that systems lens in building out new organisations. And we have our Foundation. Foundation is working in Aruba. And is doing a lot of like, on the ground work with the community on recycling, on reef protection, and a couple of other topics. And then we have Software. And Software is relatively a new entity in our ecosystem. And that's really about scaling our impact, because that's what we're all about. Metabolic, when I joined about five years ago, was 20 people. Now we're at 100 people, and with a mission as bold as transitioning the global economy to a fundamentally sustainable state. Yeah, we need to find other ways and just adding more people to scale our impact. And the system thinking, understanding and analysing the dynamics and the interactions between systems is kind of what binds all these different entities together. And a couple of examples, one of the first projects that I worked on was for the city of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, where we did a full material flow analysis of all the materials entering and leaving the city, and use that as a basis to develop a Circular Economy strategy. We also apply that more directly with an organisation, the Erasmus Medical Centre, which is the biggest hospital in the Netherlands, and identified all the materials entering and leaving the intensive care unit. And then the hospital sector is responsible for about 7% of the global climate footprint in the world. So in the Netherlands, it's bigger than our footprint of aviation. So this huge, hidden impact that's happening day in day out, and was a really special project because this happened also amidst the COVID pandemic, where we really looked at the different material flows, talked to the suppliers. And now we're rolling out through different strategies to actually move towards a Circular Intensive Care Unit. Another example, last example is a project that I did on the intersection of circular economy and the energy transition, where we really looked at critical raw materials that are needed for building the renewable energy system of the future, and identify that we really need to change tactics to ensure that we don't hit any roadblocks for securing all those resources that we need in this very short amount of time. 

Barry O'Kane  13:23

That's amazing, too many questions to ask. That last example you gave us, I think is particularly powerful. One of the, I guess, objections that sometimes I hear to or problems are renewable energy, the rate of change of renewable energy is the critical role of critical materials and where the sourcing, afterlife use of that all happen. So really interesting, because again, going back to your point about elegance, it feels like, you know, circularity and circular economy thinking, such an obvious contributor to that situation. So I'd love to hear a little bit more about that. And what, kind of, for you came out of that project.

Pieter van Exter  13:57

I think a very good subject to, like, illustrate how system thinking can play a role. But it's also sometimes difficult to communicate. It's one to one because when we were first starting about this topic, there were a lot of people, especially in the energy space, that were really, like, upset that we were actually calling this out as a problem. Because they said, like, Hey, you should be on our side, let's say. So it was, let's say, the fossil fuel side versus the renewable energy side. But that's not really what it's about. We are all about getting to a renewable energy system as fast as possible. And that's why we think we need to, kind of, anticipate any barriers, any risks, such as critical minerals, because what we're seeing is that the technology that we're building our renewable energy system on uses various elements at really high and really large shares. And we need to build that in one, two decades. These are all, like, orders of magnitude larger than how we are using these materials at the moment. So that means that we need to open new minds, but also find ways to retain these materials in our system, because they are not designed for reuse at the moment. They're not designed for repair, they're not even designed for recycling. It was really nice to make that tangible,to put it up on the agenda and showing that for the Netherlands for some of these materials, we would need about 5 to 6% of the global production per year just to cater for the Netherlands, which is about 0.2% of the population and about 0.9% of the global energy use. So maybe we can solve it as the Netherlands but then we haven't solved our climate crisis, more to say. So we really need to do a couple of things. And I think this is also like illustrating the entire, let's say menu of what circular economy has to offer. So the first things are really around Refuse and Rethink. I strongly believe that we need to completely rethink our systems so that we can actually provide our needs in a very different way. So a classic example is, of course, mobility, we're now thinking about like, Okay, let's replace all the fossil fuel cars, just one to one with electric cars. But is that really, in 2023 the best solution for getting people from A to B, is that really what we want? And besides, it costs a lot of materials. So rethink and refuse is really important. But then it's really about, Okay, we need to build up this stock, I think there's no way around mining more materials, but then let's make sure that we do that in the best possible way. And let's also make sure that we design the products in such a way that at the end of life, at least, we can really start reducing our mining, but keep these materials in our loop, and reuse, and reuse and reuse them over and over again.

Barry O'Kane  16:46

Really powerful and really pulls everything together. And What's really powerful about that, for me is, like, we're trying to make complexity concrete, to not shy away from the fact that this is a multifaceted problem, and therefore need a multifaceted solution. And as you said, that doesn't necessarily mean we need to make assumptions about what camps we're in, like renewable energy is obviously vital. But doing it in the right way means asking the right questions and not ignoring the complex problems at the same time. For me, that's a really strong theme that is coming through particularly in this season. And that's something that I think that's really important, and very relevant to the strong mission that I feel about those of us who are involved in software engineering or technical professionals, generally, we talk about how we love complex problems and difficult problems and how we can solve them. And there are no bigger problems, then this level of system change, right?

Pieter van Exter  17:40

It's fascinating. And we need a lot of software engineers and bright minds in general, across the entire spectrum, to join forces here, because there's, frankly, there is also a lot of work to be done on the methods because they have been so underinvested. I think there was another feeling going back to your question, Emily, is that I'm also sometimes surprised or concerned or worried about, kind of like, the state of sustainability methods that are applied globally. So I think, because they've been so underinvested, like everybody's now looking into, about measuring their carbon footprint, etc. But the people that are developing these systems are using methodology and data for which it hasn't been designed to, and are developed by a couple of PhDs who are brilliant, but we really also need to, kind of like, scale that up and really invest in the right data and insights. So more resources, but also more bright minds are very welcome in the space.

Emily Swaddle  18:39

That's funny, that you just painted a picture as if, like, there's just a couple of people in a room who have thought like, Oh, maybe this, like, circular economy thing would be a good idea, or maybe this particular sustainable solution would be a good idea. So I've jotted things down. I know, that's not what a PhD is, I realise.

Pieter van Exter  18:56

For instance, if I can just give an example, like a lot of the standard way of measuring, for instance, your supply chain carbon emissions is now happening through an input- output model spend based methods. That's not the way I prefer to do it. So for the record, this is not how we're doing it at Metabolic but this is kind of like how most companies are approaching it this way. But there's like a, no well, a handful is bit too much, but there's only a couple of 100 people that really understand the math here and know kind of like how these models came about. And I think that's concerning because it's not leading us the right insight or not leading these companies to the right insights.

Emily Swaddle  19:36

Because that's really interesting that it's so like, in juxtaposition to this idea of systems change the fact that like, the sort of that deep level of understanding, that level of knowledge is in the hands of so few. Whereas the change has to be, by definition in the hands of many, you know, if we're talking about systems change.

Pieter van Exter  19:55

Absolutely. And that's also why I pivoted to software. I don't have a software background. But I think that is one of the keys to bring knowledge and capabilities to many.

Emily Swaddle  20:09

So on that note, I'm wondering if you can talk to us about the Living Lab that Metabolic are involved in in Amsterdam Nord. And I think that's how I was introduced to Metabolic at the site De Ceuvel in Amsterdam. And I feel, like, having a physical location with, like sort of, tangible things that people can see is a really interesting way to engage that many that we need to engage in order to create this systems change.

Pieter van Exter  20:37

Absolutely. So our Living Lab, which is called De Ceuvel is built in Amsterdam North and is kind of also the founding ground of Metabolic. So it's developed 10 years ago, Metabolic is now 11. It's built on an old, like, shipyard. And it is this place where we can experiment with a lot of, like, Circular Economy solutions, both low tech and high tech. So it's a community of small companies. And we have a cafe and a restaurant. And there's a lot of experiments happening from like blockchain and exchange of energy through blockchain as a kind of a high tech solution. But also, we're working with soil remediation. We work with different ways to collect and restore and purify water, there's a lot of compost techniques happening. And we have an aquaponic system where we both grow fish and crops at the same time. And they also support each other by exchanging nutrients. And indeed, it's a very important place for identifying, kind of like, how the future could look like in many forms and shapes. And it's also a place that has been an inspiration for a lot of people. I think there has been now like 30 or 35 video crews visiting the site. Today, we have a university coming by and visiting the place.They get a tour. So it's also really nice to see that a local place can also bring and change so many people's minds.

Emily Swaddle  22:10

I love that, that it's like an example of what the future can look like, or an example of one way that the future could look. I really feel, like, we need more of that, you know, there's so much I think, necessarily, there's so much talk about sort of the disastrous direction in which we're heading. But I would love for there to be more, I guess, like, imagining what the future could look like when we do it right. So it's really encouraging to have that example through Metabolic. 

Pieter van Exter  22:36

Yeah, exactly. And now we have built the second version next to it. So version two, which is living, like, houseboats on the water, then they're also climate adaptive. But we've applied a lot of lessons learned there. And now we're also looking at how can we build, let's say, version 3.0.

Barry O'Kane  22:54

It would also be interesting, you mentioned as well there your own journey to moving to software. And we're talking about real world physical and building those physical spaces for things to happen. And you talked about that as a way of scaling. And then you talked about your own journey of moving to software as a way of scaling. So it'll be interesting to talk a little bit about, whether that's talking about Link, specifically or software more generally, how you see that or why you see that as an important area to focus on.

Pieter van Exter  24:20

So what we see is that sustainability, the concepts behind it, Circular Economy, but also climate, and especially nature and biodiversity are really complex topics to comprehend, at least deeply comprehend and engage with. We also see that these insights is knowledge, these ways to calculate things properly should be in the hands of everyone. Not everyone, literally, but at least everyone that is professionally responsible for reducing and improving the impact of organisations. And we think that software is actually the best solution for that because we are also noticing that most of these companies and the sustainability teams in these companies are really overwhelmed by requirements, by demands from internal, but also from investors. And they really need to have the best possible tools, the best possible ways to communicate, to quantify, to prioritise impacts across these different complex topics. And that's why we are building Link. And Link is focusing on understanding reporting, prioritising impacts and risks related to nature biodiversity. That is really the next issue that we really should start tackling, and is a much bigger threat and concern than climate change in many ways, if you look, for instance, at the planetary boundaries.

Barry O'Kane  24:42

Tying that back to the whole theme there, abut systems thinking, carbon accounting always feels, while important, very narrow. Although I'm sure many listeners will challenge me on that. But it does feel like that as we can't measure one thing only, even if we're trying to tie things like circularity to carbon. But it also sounds really complex going back to the other thing we've got here, so how is it going? How are you addressing that complexity within Link?

Pieter van Exter  25:11

Absolutely complex in many ways. So I think we're trying to address this complexity at a different level. So one, there is this methodology complexity, so doing the calculations and doing the calculations right. And this is really where we can build on a lot of the work and love the experience that we have at the Metabolic ecosystem. So our consulting team in the agri-food and biodiversity division within Consulting has been working a lot on the solutions and are involved in the science based targets for nature, development, etc. So we can build on that. And that's where we need both impact data. But we also need geospatial insights. So that makes it even more complex. But it's also about making it not only kind of like the calculations correct, but also make it useful and valuable for the users. So this is really where we need to combine this science and the science based methods with user centred design. So that's what we've been focusing a lot on in the last six months is talking to over 100 companies, setting up pilot projects, to really make sure that the users, the future users, the current users are actually drawing the right conclusions and can use Link to create change. And this is also finding this balance between showing the complexity, but also bringing it together in the right way. So that you can distill clear outcomes. Sometimes you don't really need to go into the nitty gritty and go into the details if you want to look for a specific impact, like water risk, or you want to talk to a specific supplier or talk to your design team about a specific product. But you also need to communicate to management and executives, they also need to be convinced that nature and biodiversity is important to address. And you need to build a data strategy, both for addressing the impact. But you also need to be supported in improving data, coming back to the data, data points vary also started with but then do it in a good way, right? Like you see, a lot of organisations that are, like, blocked by not having the right data. And we really want to solve that by providing data gaps, but also show them if there was only one data point for them to improve, which ones should it be? Where can they have most impact with their data collection efforts? And block them from data paralysis because we don't have time for that.

Barry O'Kane  27:36

Yes, yes. I totally don't have time for that. Another, sort of, opportunity for engineering and software specifically to be looking at the existing operating systems that businesses run on, aren't measuring and collecting or optimised for what I would find is the right thing within this conversation. We've got information about how fast can we get things out through the door to sell the next thing. But what we don't have is literally what is that material? Where is it? You know, the things that we actually want to know if we're trying to measure circularity, I liked your example of the hospital. And when you were talking about data collection there, I was literally imagining Well, does that mean somebody has to literally stand and count things going in and out of the building? Because procurement often, they just don't have that data, right?

Pieter van Exter  28:19

Well, I can share the pictures afterwards. But that is literally how part of the data collection happens. Like we literally went there with scales and counting to complement a top down analysis. So that is also kind of like part of that industrial ecology methodologies where you do this mass balances like we had, most companies have somewhere an oversight of what they purchased and not always in. Sometimes they have this also in a mass equivalent, but they rarely have insights about the material composition, etc, etc. So we had this kind of, like, overview and then we start filling in the gaps with measuring, counting, going there with scales. All those tricks and I completely agree with you that it would be such a lift and such an improvement if data was available in a consistent way.

Barry O'Kane  29:02

So, within Metabolic Link, you already got a huge remit, a huge sort of problem or problems is working on? How do you address that data availability and quality side, in addition to as you talked about, then the methodology and then trying to, for all to make sense?

Pieter van Exter  29:26

There are three elements to it. So one is around matching the data to physical material flows. So, indeed, like just this example, of the hospitals, like we translate, procure data, purchase goods, to material flows and masses, because that is the best way to start data with and that is being done within the platform for you. So that matching is really important, saves a lot of time and gets really granular and precise. Then to understand nature related impacts and risks, you also need this location. And this is often really challenging for organisations because they know where they bought it from, but they don't know where the raw materials are coming from. But that's exactly the place where most impact is taking place, right? Like, if you follow the supply chain of textiles, it's the cotton, where most impact is happening on water extraction, land use deforestation, and some of those other impact factors and categories. So we use methods to estimate and model locations following a series of algorithms and trait interactions. But it's a bit more than that. But so identify, kind of like, if you don't know the exact location of sourcing, what are the most likely locations of sourcing, and what is the current state there. And then you start in this iterative process where it is like, Okay, these are the results that is already good enough for reporting to the science based targets for nature for the CSRD, for everything that is coming up, because they all know that companies don't have the data readily at hand. For you to validate the most important numbers where we have been making most assumptions. So if we see that most of your impact across the different categories is coming from cotton, with the supplier that is likely to be sourced from China, go engage with this supplier, and talk to them and identify where if that's actually happening, and then B, if that is a place where nature is in a critical state. This is also the place where you should engage and think about strategies to improve the local conditions through your practices there.

Barry O'Kane  31:36

Thank you. Yes, that really helps to tie that, what you're describing for them the data, and then the analysis and a method and processing and to lead to some actual action thing I can do. There's that supplier, I can go have this conversation and maybe make some changes that was really powerful. Thank you so much. I would love to geek out about that and keep going for a lot more. But as we're running out of time, just really quickly. For those who want to find out more about the work you're doing, about Metabolic Link and about Metabolic more generally, where should they go?

Pieter van Exter  32:06

You can visit our website Or you can reach out and connect with me on LinkedIn, where I will also be talking about a lot of the things about Circular Economy, biodiversity and about Link specifically in the coming weeks.

Barry O'Kane  32:20

And as usual, for everybody listening, we'll put the links to all of that in the Show Notes on Metabolic is M E T A B O L I Please go and check them out. Thank you, Pieter. Really appreciate your time today. That was an amazing conversation.

Pieter van Exter  32:36

It was a pleasure. Thanks so much.

Emily Swaddle  32:38

Thank you, Pieter.

Thank you for listening to this episode of HappyPorch Radio. You can find past episodes, transcripts and show notes at You can also get in touch with us there and let us know what you think or if you have any ideas or comments. Please rate the podcast, share and subscribe so that more people can find the show.


Barry O'Kane  32:57

Thanks for listening. My name is Barry O'Kane. I founded HappyPorch who fund and support this podcast. At HappyPorch we do technology and software development for purpose led businesses and we're particularly excited about the role of digital as an enabler for the Circular Economy. If you're working on solutions to the big problems we face today, problems like climate change, biodiversity loss and global inequality then let's connect,visit and get in touch.

Emily Swaddle  33:19

And I'm Emily Swaddle, podcaster coach, facilitator and storyteller. You can find me on my other podcast, the Carbon Removal Show, and you can find out more about that project and everything else I do at where you can also subscribe to my Newsletter All about Rest. If you're interested in anything I do, feel free to connect. You can email me on [email protected]