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News 21 may 2021

Madaster Foundation

Madaster Foundation

Madaster Foundation

When visiting this website, a pop-up will show up on your screen about the Madaster Foundation. If you have already read this pop-up, or perhaps have even visited the foundation’s website, then you can stop reading. However, if you closed that pop-up without reading it, for whatever reason (we all do this with pop-ups, from time to time), but now would like to know some more about who or what the Madaster Foundation is and especially what the relationship is to the Madaster Platform, then please read on. Ida Mae de Waal, Thomas Rau and Pablo van den Bosch will answer these and other questions you may have. They support the supervisory board that closely monitors the realisation of the objectives of the Madaster Foundation.

The Madaster Foundation safeguards the general interest related to Madaster and guarantees the financial stability, qualitative services and corporate compliance of Madaster Services.

First of all, why have a Madaster Foundation?

Because the Madaster concept and the registration of materials is important to us all and a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) is the best way to ensure that this general interests is served. The foundation is independent, non-profit, has no operational responsibility and is free to do what is needed for all of us. When setting up Madaster, we founded both Madaster Services, a company to take care of the operational work (i.e. a type of ‘contractor’), and the Madaster Foundation (i.e. ‘the client’) to provide independent supervision of the implementation and realisation of Madaster's mission. This mission is to facilitate an economy in which the circular consumption of materials can be sustained for future generations, and to support the development of concepts and solutions that enable the registration, documentation, storage and exchange of data on materials, components and products used in our built environment.

Who are involved in the Madaster Foundation and what are their roles?

The core of the foundation consists of members of the supervisory board. Three independent members are responsible for supervising Madaster’s development: Ken Webster, Marzia Traverso and Carol Lemmens. They act as a sounding board for the vision and direction, and supervise operations of Madaster Services. In addition to the board members, Thomas Rau and Pablo van den Bosch also fulfil managerial roles to operate the foundation (i.e. the Public Benefit Organisation). Ida Mae de Waal is an advisor to the board and provides the necessary support. Since April of this year, there is also an International Assembly, a meeting in which delegates from local Madaster Foundations participate, in addition to the supervisory board, to support the work in the countries where Madaster is active. At the moment, there is only one local foundation —in Switzerland — and we are exploring possibilities in Norway and Germany.

What is the relationship between Madaster Foundation and the Madaster Platform and Madaster Services?

The responsibility for the operational activities has been assigned explicitly to Madaster Services. This company is to provide talent and development capital to meet the wishes and requirements of the users. Sound business management is a must, because Madaster does not want to be dependent on subsidies or gifts.

So far nothing too remarkable, you may say. But the role of the Madaster Foundation enhances the situation.

  • An agreement was drafted between Madaster Foundation and Madaster Services whereby the latter is obliged to comply with clear performance indicators:
    Financial stability: the company must have a rock-solid financial position (i.e. solvency), and prices must be determined according to impact rather than profit maximisation;
  • Service and support: the activities of the platform are described in service levels that need to be achieved;
  • Corporate compliance: the company and its employees must comply with corporate regulations aimed at transparency and compliance with internal and external legal regulations.

The partnership between Madaster Foundation and Madaster Services provides a detailed set of agreements on reporting, supervision and enforcement measures related to the aforementioned performance indicators. These agreements are publicly available via the website of the Madaster Foundation.

Does the Madaster Foundation support all initiatives that facilitate registration, documentation, storage and exchange of data on materials in the built environment?

But, of course! Madaster welcomes all efforts that provide materials with an identity. Whether all such efforts are conducted in ways that are also efficient, effective and optimal is yet another matter. Madaster, for example, stands for transparency and availability of data within the strict boundaries of privacy and security. Registration within one organisation without third-party access is an example of 'anything is better than not registering at all', but these types of solutions hardly contribute to a circular economy. Perhaps it is more important to say that the Madaster Foundation particularly wants to stimulate initiatives and dialogue, even if they not about the Madaster Platform itself.

Is the Madaster Foundation dependent on donations, subsidies or other external contributions for its existence?

Yes. The Madaster Foundation has deliberately chosen not to engage in any economic activities in order to guarantee maximum independence. Fortunately, the costs of running the foundation are low, as the directors are unsalaried, but there is nevertheless a small amount in general funding requires. The financial basis was laid by the Kennedys at the time the foundation was established, and part of their contribution is currently still available to the foundation. For the future, the foundation is considering a financing model whereby, in addition to donations or subsidies, a fee could be charged to Madaster Services for the supervision provided by the foundation.


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