'A sustainable future is the only future'

Student master International Communication

'The future of green hydrogen', that is the title of my thesis that I wrote on behalf of the Lectoraat Communication, Behavior & the Sustainable Society (CBSS), Entrance and the SAVE project. The focus of my research was small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Northern Netherlands and Germany. What motivates and demotivates SMEs? What do they need to get interested in the concept of green hydrogen? These questions were central to my thesis and through desk research and qualitative interviews with SMEs and experts I found answers.

I am Lisa Peterson, 23 years old and currently working as an online & content marketer. I completed the Master International Communication this year, and before that I did the Bachelor International Business and Languages. I chose to follow the Master International Communication because I wanted to increase my knowledge in the field of international communication. Different cultures, norms and values ​​have always interested me, especially after I came back to the Netherlands after living abroad for a year (Barcelona and Toulouse). How can you convey a message well and how does it happen that you sometimes come across completely wrong? And how do you become successful in this? All interesting questions that were the trigger for me to follow this Master.

The project I did, 'The future of green hydrogen', was for a non-profit organization (lectorate). The aim of this project was to draw up a communication plan for this organization. I eventually developed this plan based on the results of my research. I did the project alone, so I was responsible for every part of my thesis: from literature research to desk and field research. However, I was lucky that five other fellow students were doing projects for the same research group, so we worked together a lot at Entrance and were able to help and motivate each other a lot.

195 countries have signed a climate agreement to keep global warming below 2°C. This energy transition faces challenges and requires a major shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources. Green hydrogen has significant potential to enable this transition to a clean, low-carbon energy system, but this is easier said than done. This is something that interested me and that's why I chose this topic for my project.

In addition to political, juridical and economic factors, the pursuit of sustainability is mainly influenced by a broad social basis. These efforts depend on the support and involvement of the government, citizens and individual businesses. Through the SAVE project I found out that up to now there is a perceptible disinterest and lack of knowledge with regard to green hydrogen among SMEs. The business community will also have to opt for an emission-free future. For this it is essential that organisations gain the right knowledge about green hydrogen before making a decision.

What is needed to involve SMEs in the energy transition? The results of my research showed that it is essential to first communicate the general message (a different way of thinking, from short term to longer term) and then communicate the specific hydrogen solution within their company. If there is a business case attached, it becomes much more interesting for companies. Furthermore, this research has shown that online communication is desirable. Background information, facts and results are crucial to convince SMEs. In addition, it appears that the lack of financial support and knowledge from governments, the high costs and security aspects are barriers for SMEs. In addition, companies are often short-term focused and do not have the time and expertise to look for alternatives.

I converted all these important results into a communication strategy by means of 'storytelling'. Storytelling through video is an important communication intervention. This will motivate SMEs and remove their concerns/barriers. For the strategy I designed a 'game plan', in which I explained in different phases how a video should be recorded.

Through this thesis I have learnt that a sustainable future is certainly the only future that innovative entrepreneurs can afford. Not only because of climate change, but also because of political pressure (CO2 taxes), stakeholder expectations, competitive advantage and upholding their reputation. The 'old' management is no longer an option and every entrepreneur must look for sustainable alternatives. I also learnt that every graduation project has its ups and downs, especially if you want to schedule interviews. But with good planning and hard work, you will always get there!

Since your first lecture, the Master International Communication prepares you for your graduation project. You will learn how to do good literature research, how to properly do desk research and how best to perform field research. You learn all the different methods and apply them in practice. You do many projects for large organisations, where you collaborate with your classmates. In this way you are already prepared in small steps to do it on your own later. You will not be faced with any surprises during the graduation project; everything has already happened in the lectures during your Master.

Fields of interest

  • Language and Communication