January 28, 2013 - “Resilient Dynamism” was this year’s central theme at the World Economic Forum in Davos. In other words; the ability to, in the current crisis, stimulate sustainable growth with innovations, a clear vision and strong will to take action.
To reinforce this message, leaders of Unilever, DSM, HEINEKEN, Philips and Shell actively contributed to numerous sessions and debates. Pieter Jongstra, Managing Partner Ernst & Young The Netherlands: "The active participation of a number of DSGC Members was of great added value. We have been able to contribute to the quality of the dialogue around sustainable growth. In addition, there was quite some foreign interest in our coalition as a platform for collaboration."
Circular economy: innovation
Leaders of various DSGC Members chaired roundtable discussions in, among other, the session “Circular Economy Champions: Searching for Sustainable Growth Models at Scale”. The circular economy is an economic system focused on maximizing reusability and minimizing value destruction of products and natural resources. Subject of discussion were the opportunities for governments and companies, in scaling up and catalyzing circular economy business models. Best practices of sustainable innovations were shared with the 70 attending CEOs, scientists, politicians and new technology pioneers.
Collaborating and scaling up
Paul Polman (CEO, Unilever) emphasized the untenable situation we are currently facing. “Today, one billion consumers use 40 to 50% of the Earth’s natural resources. We consider it our task to rethink our definition of growth to really achieve sustainability, so that nine billion people can live together in peace by 2050. The Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition is an important platform for developing and scaling up initiatives that put sustainable growth first. It’s what we need in moving forward: towards a circular economy.” The session was held in the World Food Program tent, an important meeting hub in Davos for stakeholders, supported by DSM, Unilever and other partners of the UN World Food Program. Jean-Francois van Boxmeer (CEO, Heineken), emphasized that more and better collaboration is necessary if we want to scale up the current sustainability programs of companies. “Both within the supply chain, and among competitors, it’s key to share best practices and stimulate peer learning.”
Redesign of business valuation models
“We must learn how to do more with less. This requires a different mindset, as we need to deal differently with our planet and natural resources. Companies must realize that their responsibilities are about creating value on more levels than just profits. People, Planet and Profit are three primary goals. We also need different valuation models for that, so that this type of value creation becomes measurable and visible”, says Feike Sijbesma, CEO of Royal DSM.
Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition
The coalition, launched at the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos, brings together Unilever, DSM, AkzoNobel, FrieslandCampina, Philips, Shell, KLM and Heineken. Together with other platforms, such as the World Economic Forum, the DSGC develops and shares knowledge(Link opens in a new window). In addition, the DSGC actively engages with the Dutch government. The Coalition, which is Chaired by Jan Peter Balkenende, is facilitated by Ernst & Young and endorsed by VNO-NCW.
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