Mr Herman Mulder

Executive Fellow of the Duisenberg School of Finance, Independent Member of the Dutch NCP, Chairman of the Board of True Price, former Director-General ABN AMRO Bank, Group Risk Management, former Chairman of the Board of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

‘In the beginning there was no path, until someone started walking’

How do you see the construction industry in ten years’ time?

‘The fact is that the private sector is increasingly regulated by governments and scrutinised in the public domain in a world of injustice, scarcity and conflicts. There is also a growing realisation that reality is driven by perception: public honesty and integrated reporting are important for trust and branding. The future, including that of the construction sector, is linked to new business models and instruments, where innovation is the essence. Examples that come to mind are approaches to the integrated value chain, the circular economy, the sharing economy and true price / value, where the hidden social and ecological costs are also visible. Nothing is impossible, particularly when it is inevitable. To the construction sector I would say this: keep ahead of developments and be proactive.’

In what phase of the value chain do you believe BAM delivers the greatest added value?

‘That is clear: as the project manager of integrated projects aimed at social and technological renewal. As a business, you can only fulfil that role if you have sufficient equity. And I mean that across the board – not just financially, but also in relation to all other assets.’

How can BAM win over partners in the value chain to achieve an even more sustainable approach?

‘Look at yourself as the architect, not just by offering an architectural solution, but also when it concerns the solution to future social needs. That demands a different approach to a purely technical Delft mentality. You just have to start. In the beginning there was no path, until
someone started walking.’

In what respect can partners contribute to a more sustainable approach?

‘That is a condicio sine qua non. Joint sustainability objectives can only be achieved if every stakeholder enters into real partnerships with each other. The private sector must be enabled, steered and controlled to conduct its business in the interest of the public agenda, at both national and international level. Moreover, the public sector should be a role model for sustainable development in its procurement, contracting and investment activities.’