IPF Board Welcomes Two New Members: Natacha Lippens and Michael Saverys

The International Polar Foundation is excited to announce that Natacha Lippens and Michael Saverys have joined its board of directors this month.

Natacha Lippens

With a background in biology, zoology, and ecology, and experience on boards of organisations, not to mention a strong passion for science and sustainability, Natacha Lippens is a welcome addition to the foundation’s board.

Natacha obtained her bachelor’s degree with honours in zoology from the University of Edinburgh. She then obtained a Master of Science (MSc) degree in environmental technology, with a specialisation in ecological management at Imperial College London, focusing on the intersection of technology, innovation, and sustainability. She also obtained a dual degree of Master of Business Administration (MBA) from both INSEAD, one of the world's leading business schools, and Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

Natacha has had a multidisciplinary career working as a scientist, businesswoman, and consultant. She has worked as a marine biologist in the field of pollution prevention and control, advising on clean-up and supporting the clean-up of marine pollution incidents worldwide.

She sits on numerous boards of directors and advisory boards in Belgium and abroad. She is also actively involved in several impact investment funds and ventures.

She is passionate about sustainability and education, and believes that boards have a strategic role to play in the climate transition.

“As a biologist having lived abroad for 22 years, I am particularly happy to be joining the board of such an internationally renowned Belgian institution as the International Polar Foundation, notably working with the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica, which is a symbol of endurance, vision, European innovation, and of international cooperation in scientific research,” declared Natacha. “I am very much looking forward to working with my fellow directors on the important topics of enabling polar science as well as promoting Belgian technology and the sciences.”

“We’re happy to add someone to our board with such a diverse board experience, scientific knowledge, and a passion for sustainability as Natacha,” stated Alain Hubert, Founder and President of the International Polar Foundation. “We look forward to her contributing fresh, new ideas to the foundation.”

In addition to serving on the board of directors of the International Polar Foundation, Natacha is also currently:

  • Chair of Climate Governance asbl/vzw Chapter Zero Brussels, an organisation that aims to help board directors across Belgium and the European Union to become climate-competent and address the challenges of climate change;
  • Member of the Investment and Sustainability Committees of Estari Sustainable Growth Fund;
  • On the board of Futerro, a company that produces bio-sourced biodegradable and recyclable plastic;
  • On the advisory board of Confluence Investors, an impact fund focused on publicity listed companies in the non-BRIC/ smaller emerging markets;
  • On the advisory board of Spencer Stuart, an executive search and leadership consulting firm;
  • On the board of Finasucre Group, a family-owned company that produces and distributes sugar and related products;
  • On the board of Compagnie Het Zoute, real- estate developer in Belgium, the Netherlands, and France;
  • On the board of Iscal Sugar S.A, a company producing sugar and specialties from sugar beets;
  • Consultant at Telos Impact, an independent manager and advisor for organisations, individuals, and public institutions seeking to grow their sustainability;
  • On the advisory board of Coast 4C, an enterprise driving ocean and climate restoration through inclusive value chains for regenerative seaweed.

Michael Saverys  

Michael Saverys brings not only years of experience as a businessman to the board of the foundation, but also a passion for taking action to find sustainable solutions to address the issue of climate change.

He is currently Commercial Director at CMB Group, which is specialised in international shipping. He follows his father Marc Saverys, who was a member of the Strategic Council of the Polar Secretariat.

Michael studied business administration at UBI in Brussels before starting his career in trading grains at Noble Group in 2005. In 2007 he was headhunted by Merril Lynch and worked for them as dry freight commodity trader until 2009. Following this, he joined CMB Group as Commercial Director for their dry bulk division, Bocimar.

“I’m very excited to be part of the foundation’s board of directors,” Michael explained.

“And like Alain Hubert, I’m someone who doesn’t just talk about addressing climate change; I also like doing something about it,” he continued. “I’m very excited to be part of a foundation that not only talks the talk but walks the walk.”

CMB Group is the biggest energy transition player in the shipping industry. The company is currently developing hydrogen and ammonia solutions to greatly reduce the carbon footprint of not only the shipping industry but also the mining and trucking industries.

“I think CMB Group can learn a lot from what IPF is doing in Antarctica. But IPF in turn can learn from our activities at CMB Group,” Michael added. “I’m excited to see what we can accomplish.”

We look forward to working together with the two of them on developing different projects in the coming years !