WEEK

Sustainable country

The Netherlands

The Netherlands is the fifth most sustainable country in the world (according to Country Sustainable Ranking), and even though the top of the list belongs traditionally to European economies like Norway, Sweden, and Finland respectively, Dutch approach towards sustainability is unique. This small country has developed for many centuries thanks not only to trade but also to the necessity of handling with constant environmental risk.

For the Netherlands problems related to global warming, which causes rising water level is even a question of survival. A quarter of the land area of the Netherlands is below sea level. And as Dutch people say about themselves, need of fighting flood and continuous pulling out fragments of land, have developed on the one hand cooperation skills, on the other thinking about the future and issues of the environment. What is especially interesting in the Netherlands is that questions of sustainability are fundamental. Sustainable growth became one of the guidelines for the country, as well as running a business.

This most competitive country in the European Union is a role model for public-private partnership. In the Netherlands, one makes use of this kind of cooperation in the field of transport and water management. Dutch administration focuses on facilitating functioning for businesses that are not only in the Netherlands but for instance for those located in developing countries. Dutch business relies on international trade and the state seeks to support other countries in expanding into the new markets, for example, African countries into the EU’s market.

Model of sustainable development

A character of social responsibility in the Netherlands relates not only to government policies but also strongly to the business. As a result, nineteen big Dutch companies are in the Dow Jones Sustainable Index which gathers the most sustainable companies in the world (DJSI). Akzo Nobel, Philips, Unilever, ABN-Amro, Aegon are among them. The Netherlands has today a reputation of an open economy, where virtually every business focuses on internalization. That is why a role of Dutch companies in shaping attitude towards social responsibility takes on a global dimension.