Dudoc Vancouver—A business model for sustainable design based on Earth Charter ethics


In the Canadian city of Vancouver, British Columbia, the Dutch Urban Design Centre (Dudoc) has Earth Charter Principle 7c at the core of its business model. Since opening its doors in October 2014, Dudoc Vancouver has been promoting the development, adoption and equitable transfer of environmentally sound technologies. Specifically, the centre showcases Dutch and other European companies’ environmentally sustainable products and services to the North American market. Dudoc Vancouver also serves as a forum for exchanging ideas among designers, urban planners, developers and architects across disciplines and continents.

Dudoc Vancouver’s goals, founded on the Earth Charter vision, are to:

  • Protect the environment and vital resources while creating positive outcomes for the communities in which we live.
  • Embrace creativity, innovation and change through diversity and inclusiveness.
  • Build enduring and reliable relationships through collaboration and engagement of citizens in our transition to a healthier world.
  • Induce change of current unsustainable practices by providing rational applications of our innovative techniques.
  • Provide visionary leadership and interactive management in the creation of healthy, resilient and diverse cities.


CEO Gerben van Straaten is part of the global Earth Charter movement. He was working as an urban designer in both the Netherlands and Canada and realized that there is a huge breadth and depth of technological and design innovation in the Netherlands. Meanwhile in Canada, demand for such innovations is growing rapidly. Van Straaten founded Dudoc to bridge the gap between these two places. North American city builders interested in making their projects more environmentally sustainable can now look to Dudoc for the latest European innovations.

An example of the partners exhibiting their products at Dudoc Vancouver is Jaga, a manufacturer of hydronic heaters. Jaga’s guiding values include respect for nature, as well as a passion for creativity, innovation and collaboration. Their energy-efficient systems help reduce the energy demand of buildings. They have also developed eco-design radiators made from 100% recycled materials, an example of applying Earth Charter principle 7a (reduction, reuse and recycling of materials). Dudoc Vancouver helps companies such as Jaga by providing a shared showroom space to exhibit products, international business development advice, market research, local connections and customer service.


In addition to the showroom, Dudoc facilitates the exchange of ideas that make our cities and buildings better places for all people. In the spirit of Earth Charter principle 14 on life-long learning, the centre enables a variety of activities in its space: panel discussions, educational talks, upcycling competitions, sustainable product showcases, art displays, exhibitions of Dutch Design, professional development workshops and more. Part of the space is used for flexible co-working for visiting partners as well as local freelancers and researchers. It also houses the City Hub Initiative – a space for young change-makers to meet, learn, and collaborate in order to make their projects a reality.

Through this combination of international business development, education and co-operation, Dudoc Vancouver strives to encourage sustainability in the built and social environment and aims to be a successful example of the Earth Charter in action.


To learn more about Dudoc Vancouver, visit or find Dudoc on TwitterFacebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

Author: Josephine Schrott, Earth Charter Young Leader

Originally from Germany, but now calling Vancouver, Canada her home, Josephine Schrott is helping establish a Canadian Earth Charter network, with a focus on youth & community engagement. She studied International Relations and is passionate about building sustainable communities and inspired by the Earth Charter’s holistic approach addressing humanity’s most pressing problems. As part of World of Walas, she works at Dudoc Vancouver, a centre enabling European businesses to transfer their innovations to North America. In her time off, she does local activist and volunteer work and enjoys the beautiful Canadian outdoors.


jschrott[at], 604.681.2971
100-1445 West Georgia St; Vancouver, BC


  • “dudoc-vancouver-showroom” View of Dudoc Vancouver showroom. PC: Edward Lai
  • “dudoc-vancouver-roundtable” We Are Cities Roundtable. PC: Paula Leyton
  • “dudoc-vancouver-dutch-design-exhibition” Dutch Design Supermodels exhibition. PC: Anna Brayko
  • “dudoc-vancouver-upcycled-fashion” Upcycled Fashion Show. PC: Anna Brayko

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