Seaweed speaker Joost Wouters: 'I can put all my energy and creativity in seaweed'
He has been speaking for much longer, but from now on you can also hire Joost Wouters, SeaEO of The Seaweed Company, as a professional seaweed speaker. He does this as part of The Seaweed Company to share the seaweed story to a wider audience. An important step in his view. As important as making the chain reliable and transparent and taking the consumer along step by step.
What made you decide to become a seaweed speaker?
‘I believe that platforms are ways to inspire large groups of people and encourage them to take action. In my former life between 2002 and 2016, I had a leadership consultancy firm, in which I regularly spoke about leadership and team motivation. In the last six years I also sometimes spoke, but I was mainly concerned with seaweed. Now I want to pass on that passion for seaweed as a speaker again. Seaweed is a huggable product, you have a different angle to bring a theme to the stage. In particular to map seaweed outside the seaweed world.'
Then what are you talking about?
‘That can be very diverse. About ‘how do you set up a sustainable chain’? ‘How do you ensure that as a company you are not only economically, but also socially and environmentally focused?’ ‘What can you learn from a new industry like the seaweed industry?’ ‘What are you running into?’ Actually all kinds of aspects to motivate and inspire people and companies.’
So, it’s not your intention to speak at seaweed events. What can people book you for?
‘No, that's right, that's a relatively small area were people know each other already. I want to map seaweed outside the seaweed world. People can book me for an event within a specific company. Or a conference within an industry where they highlight a certain theme. I also do leadership training, such as how do you view leadership from the perspective of building an industry? I am also asked as a keynote speaker to motivate the audience.’
You started The Seaweed Company 5 years ago. How do you experience the seaweed business so far?
‘I have indeed very consciously chosen to build on that seaweed industry and to invest my love and bliss in it in the coming years. And I still think it's super cool. I said that to a colleague this morning. It's so diverse. One day I'm talking to a retailer, then with metal companies that make machines, then I'm working on legislation and then marketing a product again. Very exciting. I can put all my energy and creativity into that. Especially since we are still in a pioneering phase. A phase of not knowing what you don't know and how do you get there. Bumping your nose every day, that's the fun.'
What do you think the seaweed sector needs to move forward?
‘I think there is a need for a broader awareness within chains, such as the food and agricultural chain, that seaweed can play a certain role in this. If we only present it as an ingredient or industry, it will not work. It is about finding your role within the chain collaboration.
Ensuring a reliable supply chain, so that corporates are assured of purchase. That's not there yet. Making it transparent and reliable, ensuring that it is certified. These are important steps and we as Seaweed Company are now putting a lot of energy into them.’
What can you recommend to people when it’s about seaweed?
‘The consumer must be taken along step by step, without consciously choosing seaweed. If you mention that a hamburger contains seaweed, a lot of people will no longer buy it. It's about the B2B part, and the B2C part. But really, how do you get the masses on board? Those are the big questions that we will try to answer in the near future.’