CEO ARCADIS Nederland
ARCADIS is an international supplier of project management, consultancy, and engineering services for improving transport infrastructure, sustainability, and liveability. ARCADIS Nederland employs around 2,500 people and develops, designs, executes, maintains, and manages projects for the private and public sectors.
Many organisations struggle to translate sustainability ambitions into results. What is your advice?
‘Many parties talk about taking big steps. My advice is this: begin simply. Yes, put a marker on the horizon, but start by fulfilling smaller challenges. Also make matters very concrete. Look at the opportunities close-by.’
How do you organise sustainability to the best possible effect?
‘There are many facets to sustainability or corporate social responsibility. The internal aspects, your own operations, are almost entirely in your hands. But the impact of the advice we give is many times greater than our decision as to whether our employees use electric transport or the train. In our discussions with our clients, we must always remain focused on balancing commercial principles with performance in the field of sustainability.’
Is there sufficient appreciation of the benefits for businesses in the field of sustainability?
Yes and no. If you look at how they are appreciated by society, yes. That goes for ARCADIS, and also for BAM and other companies that I regard as leaders. Our work in relation to sustainability is noticed, and I encounter widespread appreciation for that.
At the same time, though, if you look at the economic side of awarding contracts, then I would say no. There is insufficient appreciation when the ‘most economically advantageous tender’ criteria or CO₂ Performance Ladder are applied. These measuring criteria are too limited in their ambitions. Every large company has now reached level five on the CO₂ Performance Ladder. We have to create an additional stage in the tendering phase, primarily in terms of assessing what your end-product will be. If, thanks to a smart design, BAM requires less concrete than another party, then that represents significant sustainability benefits, something that is not adequately reflected in the selection procedure.’