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Sustainability in the boardroom: from obligation to strategic necessity.

Companies have mouths full of sustainability and green ambitions, but it is still a core part of the strategy in a few boardrooms. People are working on it but see it mainly as an obligation because of the upcoming Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). This is a missed opportunity, as companies that effectively integrate sustainability into their strategy contribute to a better planet and gain competitive advantages. After all, consumers are increasingly consciously choosing sustainable products.

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Young Talent

The younger generations, particularly Generation Z, value sustainability and want to work at a company that takes this seriously. This is an essential fact at a time when companies are struggling to attract and retain young talent. Sustainability initiatives that make a real impact and are visible inside and outside the organisation help make this critical group of employees feel more connected to the organisation.


Responsibility of the CEO

Increasingly, we see young employees dropping out of a company when it appears that sustainability reporting is a matter for the CFO. This is signalling that it is only seen as a financial reporting obligation. They believe that within truly sustainable organisations, this should be the task of the CEO. This makes it clear that it is a strategic priority, not just a compliance issue.


Pitfall

The current political climate in the Netherlands seems to allow for a less strict approach to sustainability. However, this trap risks putting companies' futures at risk. One would do well to signal that sustainability is a core corporate value despite political shifts. Deeply integrating sustainability into business strategy is not only an ethical choice but also a business imperative. It was high time seen in the boardroom as an opportunity to grow and positively impact.