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Except Integrated sustainability

Except is a social enterprise of sustainability experts, strategists, designers, and developers. We work with pioneering clients to take their sustainability performance to the next level.

Together we work on cities, buildings, companies, industry, and governance. We provide strategy, conduct research, design solutions, and deliver concepts to make them flourish sustainably. We've been pushing the boundary what's possible for 18 years, combining the experience of over 500 projects worldwide to the challenges of today.

Through systems thinking and co-creation we love turning complex challenges into game changing opportunities. Curious about what we can do for you?  Talk to us

Who we are

Except Integrated Sustainability delivers concepts and strategies for resilient, just, and inspiring cities, companies, and governance. Since 1999 we bring together private and public partners and guide them towards systemic and fundamental improvement, where all stakeholders benefit. We apply innovative systemic analysis, develop road maps towards resilience, and execute solutions with inspiring design. Together we bridge gaps between sectors to accelerate the frontier of sustainability, and create concepts that are realistic and feasible.

We’re a passionate, practical, and dynamic team, known for our interdisciplinary and innovative approach. Our team consists of 30 sustainability strategists, researchers, and designers that works around the world, with our base in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

It’s easier to run through a dark space when someone turns on the light. Our SiD systems-thinking framework sheds this light on complex challenges, speeding up strategic decisionmaking using dynamic analysis and visualization tools. SiD incorporates areas such as the circular and bio-based economy, social justice, and crowd-based development. We then guide these strategies towards realization with our partners, combining science, creativity, and social entrepreneurship. This way, we realize concepts that have greater positive impact while reducing costs and lead times for stakeholders.

We believe we need both profitable business and effective government to create the foundations for a sustainable society, as well as support from people globally. To accelerate this, we help develop awareness by sharing our knowledge in seminars, publications, workshops and with open source licenses.

Our impact in 2016


Founded in 1999, this is Except’s 17th year pursuing its mission of creating the foundations for a sustainable society.


With 65 projects in 2015, our total now stands at over 500 projects in the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.


Never go alone. This year, more than 80 partners and experts joined us in our mission, with over 300 partners through the years.


We estimate a direct positive impact on over 8,700 individual lives this year, and 100,000+ since 1999. Indirectly, we estimate a reach of several million, with tens of millions in our awareness and knowledge programs. 


We’ve started three new ventures and non-profits this year to support sustainable development, including the Except Sustainability Foundation and the Utrecht Community Foundation, to bring the total up to 7.


This year we developed projects in over 12 sectors, including resilient cities, buildings, organizations and circular industries, strategy and policy, bio-based industries, software and training.


An example project: systems thinking in combination with smart design in a single project for IKEA saved 285,000  barrels of oil this year (about the energy footprint of the entire state of South Carolina), and increasing savings for each next year to come, for less than .5 mio US$ in cost.


Projects had positive impacts across all eight SiD ELSIA categories of sustainable development, including renewable energy, health, wellbeing, economic diversity and resilience, entrepreneurship, biodiversity, and cultural expression.


To help make this possible we welcomed 11 new members, of which four staff. We held five public events including four Grid Nights, opened a new office at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, and started preparations for a new head office. 


Contact Information

Contact Hours
Monday-Thursday: 10:00 – 18:00
Friday: Time for reflection

phone: +31 10 737 0215


Except Netherlands
Stadhuisplein 15
3012 AR Rotterdam
the Netherlands

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Except USA
The Bourse
839 Chapel Street
New Haven, CT 06511

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