Board of Directors' report
In 2020 Witteveen+Bos employees were involved in over 4,000 projects in 42 countries, working on challenging societal issues such as carbon-neutral and circular construction, building sustainable infrastructure, the energy transition, flood protection, climate adaptation, improving industrial processes, high-quality drinking and waste water treatment and environmental issues. Last year we grew from 1,208 to 1,330 employees worldwide. On balance, we closed the year with revenues of EUR 155.8 million and a net result of EUR 17.9 million.
Despite the turbulence of the corona pandemic, which had major societal and economic consequences, Witteveen+Bos had a good year. To achieve this, our attention to the health of our employees and focus on the company’s productivity and liquidity were essential. In an exceptional and difficult time for all of us, Witteveen+Bos employees, clients and partners worked together in a flexible and cooperative manner and really put their shoulders to the wheel. We thank and congratulate everyone for this. Our thanks also go to the Works Council (OR) and Supervisory Board (RvC), with whom we could effectively exchange ideas and coordinate despite the situation surrounding corona.
Our first corporate objective is to create societal value in projects and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In order to better visualise our contribution, we further developed our SDG Impact Tool, aimed at measuring impact in developing countries. In 2020 we also created a Societal Value Tool for measuring societal impact in non-developing countries. Last year we assessed 34 projects with these tools. Our analysis showed that in the Netherlands we have the most impact on SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy) and in developing countries on SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth). We are offering our customers increasingly more innovative, digital solutions. Examples include our participation platform InBeeld, the +Circular Design Tool, the FietsMonitor and the Heat Stress Map.
Talent development is our second corporate objective. We achieved staff growth of 10 % in 2020 and adapted to the reality of the ‘digital workplace’. This has led to varying experiences for employees. Contact between (international) offices, for example, has become easier, employees are able to concentrate better, and the reduction in travel time is seen as positive. On the other hand, social contact and effectively performing creative work have become more difficult. This is also reflected in a survey conducted by Saxion University of Applied Sciences among our employees worldwide. Attracting and retaining new Witteveen+Bos employees, such as those we welcomed in 2020, remains a key point of attention in 2021 also.
Sustainable business operations comprise our third corporate objective. We fulfilled our societal responsibility in the corona period by closing (most) offices worldwide in response to the government’s call to work as much as possible from home. The ICT facilities and those required to allow working from home were implemented without a hitch, and extra attention was given to ICT security. We provided a safe haven for our employees and scaled up or down as appropriate, dependant on country-specific measures.
Our fourth corporate objective is to create economic value. Revenues in 2020 were EUR 155.8 million, of which EUR 121.3 million were our own. The net result for 2020 was EUR 17.9 million and the net profit margin was 11.5 % (2019: 11.1 %). Financially, 2020 was a good year for Witteveen+Bos. Over the coming years we will continue operating with caution given the global uncertainty surrounding corona.
Despite the ongoing global restrictions on movement, we look forward to again tackling important societal challenges together with clients and partners in 2021. Because engineering is and will always be about people.
Deventer, 12 April 2021
Board of Directors of Witteveen+Bos N.V.
Stephan van der Biezen