Stakeholder Panel's report
On 15 March 2021, the draft annual report was discussed with a panel of four external stakeholders. Two members of Witteveen+Bos’s CSR team and one member of the Board of Directors were present. The stakeholders identified strengths and offered advice on areas for improvement. Where possible, these recommendations have been directly incorporated into this annual report. Others have been included as recommendations for next year.
Corporate social responsibility
The stakeholder panel is complimentary of the way in which Witteveen+Bos has positioned itself as a socially engaged organisation and sees this reflected in the annual report. The panel recommends making the link to the five fields of operation more explicit, so as to present the full picture of Witteveen+Bos’s engineering and consultancy services.
The panel would be interested to read more about how Witteveen+Bos intends to realise its ambitions in the field of climate and biodiversity and about the steps it has taken in this regard in the past year. A clear, recognisable strategy explaining Witteveen+Bos’s ambition to have an impact on major social problems and issues would be valuable to (future) employees and clients.
Sustainable market transformation
The panel noted that, in order to truly change the market, Witteveen+Bos needs to be a link in a larger system. The annual report is primarily written at a project level; it would also be interesting for stakeholders to read about Witteveen+Bos’s efforts to influence the entire chain through its networks and partnerships.
The panel is positive about the way in which Witteveen+Bos acted on the advice from last year by reporting dilemmas which arise within the organisation. It is useful to be transparent about things that do not go smoothly or discussions that are taking place internally. Reporting a dilemma does not necessarily mean that it is immediately solved. If a dilemma remains open, insight can be given into the steps taken and a look ahead to the coming year can be taken.
One dilemma that can still be raised concerns the gap between what you want to achieve as a company in relation to sustainability and what is possible within projects. It is worthwhile identifying where the problems lie. For instance, Witteveen+Bos may want to increase sustainability in projects faster than the client does, or may have to deal with different sustainability standards in international projects. Being explicit about this paints a realistic picture of the current situation and provides an opportunity to learn, also for others.
Audience and form
An annual report is an appropriate means for informing and inspiring talents. The panel is pleased to hear that extra attention has also been paid to (future) talents in both the form and audience of the annual report, especially in times of increased shortages in the labour market.
Ries Bode, Digital Governance Advisory
Dennis van Peppen, Netherlands Enterprise Agency
Bernard De Potter, Flanders Environment Agency
Maaike van de Ven-Glastra, Evides