Sustainability Embedding Practices in Dutch Listed Companies

143 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2021

See all articles by Rob Bauer

Rob Bauer

Maastricht University; European Centre for Corporate Engagement (ECCE)

Tereza Bauer

Maastricht University - Department of Finance

Mieke Olaerts

Maastricht University - Faculty of Law

Constantijn van Aartsen

Maastricht University

Date Written: October 26, 2021

Abstract

[This research report examines why and how sustainability is being embedded by Dutch listed companies. It paints a picture of the state of the art in company sustainability embedding for 2020 and has a special focus on the roles of the management and supervisory boards given their prominence in many strategic decisions on sustainability. Using desk research and interview findings, we shed light on the main drivers and motivations for why company leadership sets goals and targets for sustainability embedding. We also examine how companies integrate sustainability into their purpose statements and strategies; how they organise their governance structures to implement and oversee the sustainability embedding process; and how they manage their supply chain, sustainability reporting, employees, and culture as a response to the growing societal demand for transparency in sustainability embedding. Based on these findings, we also provide four recommendations to advise how companies can further improve their sustainability embedding. Our research design uses both desk research and interviews to examine a sample of 35 Dutch companies listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange and which are constituents of the AEX, AMX, and AScX indices. For the desk research, we reviewed the 2020 annual reports and the latest information and documents from company websites. For the interviews, we conducted 88 interviews with 97 interviewees including 14 CEOs, five CFOs, 19 supervisory board members and 31 sustainability managers.]

Keywords: [Sustainability Embedding, Sustainable Governance, Corporate Purpose, Planetary Boundaries]

JEL Classification: M14, Q56, G15

Suggested Citation

Bauer, Rob and Bauer, Tereza and Olaerts, Mieke and van Aartsen, Constantijn, Sustainability Embedding Practices in Dutch Listed Companies (October 26, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3957250 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3957250

Rob Bauer (Contact Author)

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands
+31 43 3883871 (Phone)

European Centre for Corporate Engagement (ECCE) ( email )

Tongersestraat 53
Maastricht, 6211LM
Netherlands

Tereza Bauer

Maastricht University - Department of Finance ( email )

Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands

Mieke Olaerts

Maastricht University - Faculty of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht
Netherlands
+31 (0)43 3883009 (Phone)
+31 (0)43 3884907 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/web/Faculteiten/FdR/Thema/OverDeFaculteit/Medewerkers/Medewerkers

Constantijn Van Aartsen

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, Limburg 6200MD
Netherlands

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