The Dutch are real professionals when it comes to managing the power of water. If they would not have developed in the past a highly sophisticated water defense system for their country, a major part of the Netherlands would be under water. Just imagine that one-fourth of the country lies beneath sea level and the lowest point is 6.74 meters below sea level. For decades the Dutch developed sustainable solutions to fight the consequences of rough weather and climate change, resulting in the rise of sea level.
Today, many countries worldwide are challenged by these circumstances. Remember how Super Storm Sandy and other hurricanes affected the eastern seaboard of the USA. It is no wonder that many other countries are turning to the Netherlands for inspiration, guidance and specific expertise in water management. (more…)
Putting sustainability at the core of their business strategy and linking societal needs with business growth is becoming more popular between modern corporations. Michael Porter from Harvard University calls this approach creating shared values (CSV). This means that companies can grow their business and profitability while building sustainable, scalable solutions for societal challenges such as access to healthcare, education, and nutrition, but also to protective solutions, water management, and mobility.
I looked at how five well-known companies implement this new approach:
Three years ago Unilever set out the Sustainable Living Plan (Twitter #sustliving), a ten-year journey towards sustainable growth and improving people’s health and well-being. This plan addresses global challenges while contributing to Unilever’s business growth. A good example is the company’s global handwashing campaign sponsored by Lifebuoy, Unilever’s leading anti-bacteria soap brand. (more…)
The 2014 Hockey World Cup was held from 31 May to 15 June 2014 at the Kyocera Stadium and the GreenFields Stadium in The Hague, the Netherlands. The Kyocera stadium, home base of soccer club ADO Den Haag, received a temporarily new surface of artificial grass called GreenFields TX.
The story behind the development of this synthetic turf system (also known as artificial grass) is really interesting because GreenFields TX was created especially for the 2014 Hockey World Cup and involved a methodology called “validated learning” known as a new, very effective way of product development used in the lean startup movement.
We recently talked with Hans de Gier, a founder and director of SyncForce, SurveyWorld and Ranking Brands about challenges and best practices for managing visual identity of global brands.
Please tell me more about the SyncForce platform. How does it help brand owners manage the brand?
Hans de Gier: For companies with a strong brand, communicating in a consistent manner is important for their continuing existence. However, with geographically separated teams and external vendors, having a centralized brand asset management solution accessible to all can be a challenge. (more…)
Els Versluis is a Marketing Director of the Lely Group, an innovative agriculture company that supports dairy farmers with the best machinery that allows them to be more effective. Think about milking robots, feeding systems or harvesting machines. Check out this video about Lely Milking Robots:
I talked with Els about the upcoming agricultural innovation in relation to “How to feed the world in 2050”. The Lely Group is one of the 4 initiators.
The world population is expected to reach 9 to 10 billion people by 2050, and we understand that in order to organize the production and distribution of food supplies for all these people will be a challenge that needs to be addressed very soon. The agricultural sector is facing both challenges and opportunities, says Els Versluis.
The prestigious PANalytical Award was created in 2012 to encourage exceptional early-career researchers. At a time when formal research funding is becoming more difficult PANalytical took the initiative to present the winner with prize money of € 5000.
PANalytical is the world’s leader in the field of analytical instrumentation that recognizes materials by using X-ray technology. The techniques are typically applied in scientific research and for production control in industry. Previously part of the Philips organization, the company has been known by the name PANalytical since 2002.
TenCate was chosen by the Jupiler League as a vendor of synthetic grass for football fields only a few years way back.
It was big news from many perspectives, first of all, Dutch professional football was choosing synthetic turf instead of natural grass. Would other countries follow?
Secondly, the system that was chosen is the innovative matrix system from TenCate. This new system is based on a patented weaving technology as opposed to tufted techniques.
This is the first official synthetic turf system that combines optimal performance for players with sustainability, the pitches are fully recyclable. (more…)
Séverine Lemoine is an experienced HR manager. She had accumulated experiences working in a variety of companies either at HR departments or companies providing HR services. Working as an HR consultant today, she accompanies small and medium businesses to build and develop an HR culture and policy that corresponds to future stakes of the company: personnel and payroll administration, social environment, legal procedures, coaching and audit.
The Startup Atelier (TSA) had a pleasant time with Séverine discussing ABC’s of Human Resources for Start-ups. She answered my questions on various topics for HR in France and SMEs. Here is what I gathered.
The Startup Atelier (TSA): Could you say a few words about your activity?
Séverine Lemoine (SL): We help SMEs to develop HR expertise and to ensure social and administrative monitoring. Even though HR axis is sometimes forgotten in SMEs, it is, in fact, a true occupation. There are all kinds of subtle details especially with recent frequent changes in laws and regulations. Companies can be easily sanctioned if legal follow-ups and social fees are not applied properly leading to serious consequences which can be quite important for enterprise economics.
We assisted a relatively small start-up to develop an interactive solution for their educational programs in the US. Their HR implications were not significant but as their products will reach bigger audiences, their HR systems must be in correct order. And that’s where we come in.
TSA: There are multiple choices for hiring staff in France, from CDI (permanent contract) to CDD (limited time contract). CDI is not very popular when we have our heads in the sand trying to build the company with lots of ambiguities in near future. Therefore, many opt-in for more flexible choices such as CDD and freelances. What are the points to take into account when start-ups engage in such solutions?
The structure, content an design of Annual Reports has changed dramatically over the past years. Instead of dry documents full of financial data, reports now have become powerful and well-designed communication tools including non-financial data as well. Internet and mobile technology, benchmarking rankings and the need to stand out in the crowded marketplace influenced this remarkable change for better communication.
In these times of social media, when everybody with an internet connection can spread every kind of financial or business information, companies have to address the growing need to influence the perceptions of various groups. It is no wonder the annual report has become an important communications means. Thanks to the internet, the modern annual report has become a document that reaches out to thousands of readers and is the most direct and controlled method of shaping the perceptions of various audiences and stakeholders (more…)
VDL Groep is one of the most powerful family-owned businesses in The Netherlands. It is a global industrial and manufacturing company that focuses on producing, innovating and marketing semi-finished products, buses, and coaches and finished products.
An interview with the Corporate Communication Department about the leadership of Wim van der Leegte and the involvement of the new generation and working culture.
What is the VDL Group’s DNA?
VDL Groep is an international industrial company focused on the development, production, and sale of semi-finished products, cars, buses & coaches, and other finished products. It is a conglomerate of flexible, independent companies, each with its own specialty. The common thread found throughout the operations is the combination of metal and technology. Since the founding in 1953, this family-owned business has grown to include 82 operating companies, spread over 18 countries, with more than 8,700 employees. The strength of the VDL Groep lies in the mutual cooperation between the companies.