Stefan Frehland is a senior sustainability consultant and project manager who joined Quantis’ Zurich team in 2020. We spoke with Stefan about his career evolution at Quantis as well as his interests outside the office.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Stefan Frehland: I work in the Zurich office and have been with Quantis for nearly three years. I have a background in earth sciences and hold an interdisciplinary master’s degree in sustainable development. My master’s degree allowed me to broaden my understanding of Earth system dynamics, encompassing the socio-economic perspective. I learned how the shift towards sustainable development affects different subsystems of society and how to manage it.
How did you start at Quantis, and what do you do today?
SF: Prior to joining Quantis, I gained hands-on experience in management consulting and project development in the pharmaceutical and renewable energy sectors, focusing on transformation and innovation projects. I also worked in academia at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), researching micro and nanoplastics fate and flows between technical and environmental compartments via wastewater streams.
Through my experimental research, I had the opportunity to practically apply sustainable development concepts. However, I reached a point where I decided to venture into consulting and utilize the skills and knowledge I had acquired. I consulted in the pharmaceutical sector, working on general transformation programs, and had a more hands-on experience in renewable energy, involving a mix of consulting and project development.
Quantis was always on my radar, and I made the leap in 2020. I started as a sustainability specialist, primarily focusing on the fashion and sporting goods sector, actively participating in multi-stakeholder collaborations such as the European Commission’s PEF Initiative and the WBCSD’s Circular Plastics & Packaging Initiative.
Today, I am a senior project manager in the fashion and sporting goods sector, applying my strategic and technical expertise to transformational projects for major players in the fashion industry.
What Quantis communities are you a part of, and how do they contribute to the pursuit of a planetary economy?
SF: Due to my academic and research background, I am contributing to the community of expertise focused on circularity, ecodesign and plastic pollution. Within this contribution, I have led the development of a new methodology framework within the WBCSD’s Circular Plastics & Packaging initiative to assess the sustainability of packaging, encompassing plastic leakage and considerations on circularity (SPHERE framework) in order to allow better decision-making for practitioners.
Collaborating with other communities of practice and communities of expertise within Quantis helps us avoid working in isolation and enables us to adopt a more holistic approach. Many choices made along the sustainability journey can create trade-offs, where solving one problem may lead to another. Our integrated approach helps prevent such scenarios. Additionally, I am a member of our Community of Practice focused on strategy design.
What are some of your favorite memories at Quantis?
SF: My favorite memories are all linked to team-building activities outside of work, such as barbecues at Zurich Lake, ski weekends and team retreats. For me, it’s crucial to communicate with people and exchange perspectives underlying our daily work philosophically. At Quantis, we have an awesome and enriching mix of knowledge and creativity due to our diverse range of backgrounds.
Since joining Quantis, what have you learned?
SF: I have learned how to effectively manage and cope with multiple stressors while maintaining composure. I have also deepened my understanding of various sustainability topics, especially in regard to emissions accounting. For instance, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was a subject I had to familiarize myself with coming from a natural science background rather than engineering. Learning how to apply these concepts within a business context has been fascinating.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
SF: Outside of work, I am passionate about outdoor sports, particularly climbing, kayaking, and road biking. I also have a keen interest in art. Art allows us to reflect on society and historical developments from diverse perspectives. In the context of sustainability transformation, for me this perspective can be highly inspiring and foster out-of-the-box thinking.
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