Introduction by our CEO

Welcome. The year 2023 was a very good one for Royal HaskoningDHV. Our priorities were our people, our impact, and our performance. I am delighted to report progress on all three – credit to the skill and dedication of colleagues. We are making a difference, working with clients who share our drive to create positive impact through the solutions we develop together.

Marije Hulshof

In 2023 we continued to retain and grow our workforce. We invested in talent development and leadership training. We were pleased to record continuing high levels of employee engagement with 80% of all employees feeling enthusiastic and dedicated towards their job. Together, we achieved our financial targets. Operating income grew in line with budgets, and we became more profitable. Our strategy of focusing on global markets where we have clear strengths is the right one. We concentrated on improving the ease of doing business and explored the role of new developments such as generative. Artificial Intelligence. In an environment of high inflation, we kept total corporate costs stable.

Our work in 2023 was conducted within a world in turmoil. The urgency of climate change, together with conflicts and war, prompt new questions from our clients. For societies and organisations, resilience, flexibility, and adaptation are becoming ever more important. Our multi-disciplinary approach which embraces the limitless possibilities of technology and digitalisation enables us to respond to increasingly complex needs.

In North Manila Bay in the Philippines (pictured), we are using nature-based solutions to increase flood resilience while restoring biodiversity and building engagement and expertise in the local community. This project won our internal Enhancing Society Together Award. In Belgium, the new Oosterweel road tunnel and underground traffic intersections are addressing congestion and pollution while transforming the metropolitan area of Antwerp into a greener, healthier and better-connected city. In the United Kingdom, we are showing that net zero wastewater treatment plants are a real possibility.

Photo of the project that won our internal Enhancing Society Together Award, in North Manila Bay in the Philippines

These are just a few examples of how we bring life to our purpose Enhancing Society Together. Now we are making this even more tangible with the introduction of a measurement tool, our Purpose Matrix. From April 2023, we started using it to assess projects for their impact on climate change, biodiversity, resources, social value and safety. Already the data shows a stronger alignment between our projects and our purpose. Looking ahead, we want to continue to improve performance, and also the number of projects that are scrutinised this way. Our commitments to sustainability extend to our own operations where we seek to lead by example. We are ahead of our targets to reduce CO2 emissions. In 2023, one of our offices in the Netherlands was among the first buildings to receive Paris Proof certification.

We continue to be recognised for pushing our solutions to address social, environmental and economic challenges. This included the Water and Energy Exchange Innovation Award for the digital twin we developed and implemented for Dutch Water Authority WBL. The twin allows them to respond to leakage events in minutes instead of hours, provides actionable insights on pump behaviour and water volume discrepancies and makes operations more efficient. Our commitment to working with nature using innovative sustainable practices was key in a solution to boost fragile saltmarsh ecosystems against rising sea levels and climate change in the east of England. Our Northey Island habitat creation project was the overall winner of the BIG Biodiversity Challenge Award for its lasting impact on biodiversity and habitat protection. 

It is clear that external factors such as climate change, geopolitical tensions and digitalisation which influenced our company in 2023, will continue to be prominent in the years ahead. Our priorities for 2024 build on those for 2023. Feedback from clients indicates that they appreciate us for always aiming for more sustainable solutions. This will become increasingly valuable as they face requirements to report and manage their environmental and social impact.

Early in 2024, our South African entity formally became a local company, majority owned by management and employees. This will provide the flexibility and independence it needs to pursue profitable markets that are outside the strategy of our global operation. We will continue to support the progress of the South African entity and develop the mutually beneficial partnerships we have in our Global Leading Market projects especially in data centres, light industry, and aviation.

Finally, 2023 was particularly special for me as I became CEO of our wonderful company. I appreciate the warm welcome I received and am proud of what we have achieved together with our clients, colleagues and partners.

Marije Hulshof

Scope and approach
Royal HaskoningDHV’s Annual Report 2023 is based on financial and administrative documentation from the entire organisation and refers to activities between January 1 and December 31, 2023. The Financial Statements have been prepared in accordance with Title 9, Book 2 of the Dutch Civil Code, audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers Accountants N.V. Sustainability reporting within the Key Figures and the Executive Board Report, is based on the same scope and period, with reference to Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.
All information has been formally reviewed and approved by the Executive Board.