Anna Diaz Tena did her internship at Enviu, Rotterdam, the Netherlands in 2017.
Enviu is a non-profit organization that accelerates social entrepreneurship worldwide, whose ambition is to drive policy and market change through the creation of social ventures in the domains of financial inclusion, circular economy, and food systems. Within the circular economy domain, the Plastics team at Enviu regards circular entrepreneurship as a solution to the enormous amount of plastic that leaks into the ocean in South-East Asian countries. I joined the team to research on the central assignment of my internship, which consisted in an Issue Analysis about plastic waste in Indonesia. The research was a desk research project using publicly available data from both academic and industrial sources commissioned by an external partner.
The most important learning outcomes I obtained have been gaining a lot of knowledge about the issue of plastics leaking into the ocean, doing a small Material Flow Analysis and learning how Circular Economy can have a positive social impact in low and low-middle income countries. I also understood a lot about the functioning and the market dynamics of the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods sector. An important soft-skills training has been to switch from academic writing style to consulting writing style, which is more synthetic, less evidence-based and it almost feels like communicating a message to a reader that is too lazy to read. That has taught me to be less woolly when writing reports.
My academic research skills and willingness to work hard and persevere were the main personal traits for what I received positive feedback and successfully completed my tasks. Personal points of improvement have been changing my mindset a bit from expecting unidirectional flows of tasks from my supervisors and colleagues to become more proactive and bring up suggestions to add value myself. I have also realised how crucial it is to build up a professional network and learning basic Dutch to be more present in the informal interactions with your co-workers. Most important of all, forget about any kind of overlap in between your internship and your thesis.
My experience at Enviu has been very positive. It is an organisation that carries out very inspirational projects. The structure of the company is quite flat, which engages interns with the projects very easily. The office design is very cosy and the working dynamics are deadline-oriented, which means you have a high flexibility to work remotely. Working hard feels better in a comfortable environment. I have been in close contact with my supervisor and my team colleagues all the time, who provided me with feedback very often and connected me with many professionals from the sustainability sector in the Netherlands. Overall, the experience at Enviu has enriched my aptitudes and my behaviour at work and contributed a lot in terms of professional growth.