The work of an engineer is dedicated to shaping society in a responsible manner. Designing requires a continuous weighing up of how these activities will affect people and the wider community. At Witteveen+Bos, we adhere to basic principles directly related to the principles of sustainable development. Our designs and advices make allowance for the 'here and now' – meeting the needs of those who live in contemporary society – but we also give thought to the 'there and later'. That is why we advocate the use of sustainably obtained commodities and materials. We also apply the principle of life-cycle analysis. This way, we are striving to pass on a better world to future generations – a world where they will be able to make their own choices. We apply these principles within the constraints of our economic reality.
United Nations Global Compact
In 2005, Witteveen+Bos became the first Dutch engineering firm to sign up to the principles of the United Nations Global Compact. This covenant between the United Nations and companies worldwide sets down principles for doing business responsibly. The Compact is monitored by means of annual progress reports.
Corporate Responsibility Report
Increasing importance is being attached to reporting in writing on the measures and effects of corporate social responsibility. In 2009 Witteveen+Bos started publishing its Corporate Responsibility Report. Our spearheads are to embed corporate responsibility in our business culture, to contribute to education and research, to stand out as a preferred employer, and to improve our company’s CO2 footprint.
Witteveen+Bos has set itself the goal of improving the energy efficiency of its operations and – where possible – reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. We are pursuing continuous enhancement of the energy efficiency of our operations by implementing energy-saving measures and ways of scaling down mobility, obviously with due observance of client satisfaction, quality of service, and the working conditions of our staff.
The items below are part of our policy for making our operations more energy-efficient.
- Every year, we monitor the energy consumption of the office buildings that we own.
- We encourage our employees to develop energy-efficient behaviour.
- Wherever possible, we take energy-efficiency measures during renovation of office buildings that we own or rent.
- When we must replace or purchase hardware and company cars, we give consideration to low-energy alternatives.
- We regularly disclose our energy data, energy policy, and energy targets – internally as well as externally.
- We study possibilities for using and/or purchasing green electricity and using alternative fuels.Each year, we check and – if necessary – revise our energy policy and targets.
Cutting CO2 emissions caused by air travel
In the first eight months of 2011, Witteveen+Bos reduced the CO2 emissions caused by air travel by its staff vis-à-vis a comparable period of the previous year. The overall reduction came to 11 %, whereas the average number of flights per month has remained the same. Since January 2011, we have reminded staff members who book flights that stopovers cause more CO2 emissions. The total CO2 emissions attributable to our air travel came to 890 tons in 2010. We set off these emissions by purchasing CO2 credits from a hydropower station in India.
Engaging with society
Many of our staff members display their commitment to society through their involvement in professional bodies and industry associations. An active policy on published articles enables Witteveen+Bos to contribute to the knowledge infrastructure in the Netherlands. Various members of staff work as part-time lecturers or professors, and many students come to our firm for a traineeship or final graduation project. Witteveen+Bos supports the Technasium Foundation in its efforts to make technical education more attractive. We are supporting the Delft University of Technology in its modernising campaign to align research and education more to the issues that face society. In our home city of Deventer, we provide the chairperson of the local employers’ association, and by filling board positions, we support various organisations in the fields of art, culture, education, and healthcare.
Committing to culture
The Witteveen+Bos Art+Technology Award, presented annually since 2002, is our way of displaying our cultural commitment. The award is for artists who work at the interface of art and engineering. Our aim is to raise the image and appeal of engineering. We also sponsor several institutes and initiatives in the art and culture field.