How are we achieving our strategic ambitions?

Our diverse community has a wide reach, working on projects across very different markets. How we deliver on our purpose depends on the focus and context of each individual project. The common threads are the collective mindset to look for opportunities for positive impact in everything we do, and our Purpose Matrix. This is what brings our purpose to life and differentiates our organisation. We not only challenge ourselves for more sustainable solutions but also our clients. Our principles, themes and ethos are integrated into the projects we choose and how we deliver them through structured governance, systems and communications. Our commitment to lead on sustainability is also reflected in ambitious targets to make our own organisation’s transition to sustainable, low-carbon operations.

How we manage sustainability  

During 2022, we aligned our decision making, governance, systems and communications structures around our five themes of Enhancing Society Together. They are included in a tangible and consistent way in conversations, proposals, projects and services with the use of our Purpose Matrix which provides guidance and reference for project and client vetting, and daily practice.

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Our purpose chart details our five key themes with their connection to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The centre reflects the impact a particular proposal, project, product or service has on all five themes as a whole. It is important to make assessments in this way. Even if we can see positive impact in one theme, we cannot forget the others and should always challenge clients and ourselves to look for opportunities for positive impact in all themes.

Sustainability governance

Sustainability is fully integrated into our activities, led by senior management from strategy to delivery. In 2022, governance and coordination structures for delivering on our purpose were refined. The Stronger25 Office, established in 2022, ensures other strategic activities align with our purpose.

In 2022 we set up systems to provide a global approach to assessing project impact. With these in place, we have been moderating responses to ensure consistency in measurement and have established a baseline position. The next stage in 2023 is to set targets for project impact and delivery.

Sustainability in our operations

Sustainable procurement

In 2022, we updated our global sustainable procurement policy, adding guidelines and commitments to social value & equality. The guidelines apply to all purchases for use within our own organisation, such as workplace solutions and office supplies. They steer us to purchase in a uniform and sustainable way and cover purchase and maintenance as well as the life cycle use of products and services. We aim to favour the selection of suppliers who have embedded sustainable and ethical practices and challenge suppliers to reach for the most sustainable solutions at an early stage. With these guidelines, we commit to identify areas of sustainable risk (based on the five Enhancing Society Together themes) where possible and collaborate with suppliers to reduce this risk.

In the Netherlands, we aim to favour suppliers who are committed to helping people with a distance to the labour market. In 2022 we purchased socially responsible manufactured products including a green fence for the construction site at our future Delft office.

A new contract management system was adopted in 2022 which improves possibilities for monitoring and evaluation of suppliers.

Greener offices

We are reviewing leases for all our locations to ensure space and location are optimised and aligned with our net-zero commitments. In 2022, we decreased floor space in offices in the Netherlands, South Africa and the United Kingdom. For example, five offices in Brighton and Birmingham in the United Kingdom were consolidated to just two, one in each city. At the same time, we increased the quality and comfort of the workplace for employees.

We support the transition to greener sources of energy. We intend to progressively move away from using natural gas in our offices. In 2022 we initiated discussions with our landlords in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands on this topic.

In 2022, energy efficient (LED) lighting was installed in eight offices: Brighton, Birmingham, Amersfoort, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Umhlanga, Pietermaritzburg and George. n this context we also received confirmation that our data centres only use renewable energy. We collaborated with our landlords to reduce our energy usage, resulting in further action. For example, we switched to LED lighting in some parking areas.  We also adjusted office temperatures to be slightly lower in the winter and higher in the summer. We have implemented energy monitoring in our offices in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to track progress and are preparing to extend this to other countries.

Our new Delft office will be a great example of an energy efficient building. The Delft office will be the first listed building in the Netherlands to become Paris-proof (using 100% renewable energy below 70KW/m²).  In 2022, we obtained the relevant permits to start the building process. The renovation is currently ongoing, aiming to be completed by 2024.  

In South Africa, our cleaning companies transitioned to using environmentally friendly products. The new cleaning products are less hazardous to the environment as they do not contain chemicals that can cause significant air or water pollution and are not harmful to the ozone layer. 

Less waste and future IT investments

We continued working on our Zero Waste policy. We implemented a new global waste dashboard   to monitor waste generated by our organisation. In 2022 our United Kingdom offices, for example in Birmingham and Brighton, focused on reusing existing furniture and IT equipment for newly occupied spaces.

We want to mitigate our impact on the environment in all aspects of our operations. Our new sustainable IT policy, created in the course of 2022, will aim to support a reduction of our environmental impact in future IT investments.

Sustainable mobility

We continued our efforts in sustainable mobility with our employees. Our car fleet in the Netherlands became 100% electric by February 2023. The electricity for charging these cars at the office, at home and elsewhere, is now 100% from renewable sources with guarantees of origin. We have started a feasibility study on the use of electric cars in the United Kingdom. 

In 2022 we made a major step forward in reducing our CO2 emissions through revisions to our travel policy. We introduced a more sustainable policy for colleagues, providing guidelines aimed to reduce non-essential business travel by air. When air travel is deemed essential, colleagues are asked to make sustainable choices. Colleagues who travel to other Royal HaskoningDHV offices are asked to limit their number of travels and are encouraged to book flights with the lowest carbon footprint.

The flexible working practices introduced during Covid continue to lower emissions from commuting. As expected, this is less than during Covid lockdown periods and reflects the new hybrid approach to working.

Reporting on our material topics

We continue reporting on the seven material themes that we included in the 2021 Corporate Social Responsibility report. These topics were defined on the basis of past materiality assessments, and in relation to our activities, to ensure we maintain the right focus as an organisation. Our materiality assessment was not updated in 2022. In the next reporting cycles, we will review the material topics and implement the concept of double materiality to ensure alignment with the new reporting regulations introduced by the European Commission and the Corporate Governance Code in the Netherlands. The material topics we report on in this chapter are (in alphabetical order):

  • Economic / financial performance

  • Emission reduction

  • Employability

  • Health and safety

  • Integrity and ethical performance

  • Security and privacy

  • Quality and sustainability in our products and services

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Materiality matrix

The sections in this chapter include our 2022 updates on the material topics. Read more about Economic/Financial Performance in the section Financial Performance of this report.