"A joint ambition is where it begins."

MVO Nederland's director Maria van der Heijden shares her view on how to accelerate sustainable innovation.

“There is no such thing as a best practice for sustainable innovation. But there is a best method.”

"It has been a while since we signed the Paris Agreement and formulated the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The agreement is an ambitious one, with ambitious goals, but four years on I have to conclude that progress is slow. There is so much that needs to be done in the next ten years to achieve the SDGs and keep our planet inhabitable. At the same time it is clearer than ever how important those goals are. In fact, important is not the right word. Those goals are urgent.

MVO Nederland has shown that goals can be delivered by working with entrepreneurs. As small players, entrepreneurs ask themselves how they can change their complex international supply chains. And how they can configure their business model in a way that keeps their company financially sound. If they persist, beautiful things can happen. Trust me, there is nothing better than the energy that is unleashed when entrepreneurs find out that by working with others they really can change their industry. That is what is unique about our projects: we connect entrepreneurs and guide them towards sustainable innovation. Together we have creative power. Together we can make a difference.

This magazine tells you about our international projects. Years of project experience have taught us that there is no such thing as a best practice, but there is a best method. How do you drive innovation that helps meet the challenges we face? Alongside collaboration and knowledge sharing, a joint ambition is crucial. It is about taking concrete action, experimenting and continuing to review. Sustainable change takes time. You have to unravel a chain first and then push all the right buttons. That makes it complex, but also fun. And it is the only way to make a genuine impact.

Let us harness the momentum, so that we can avoid the otherwise inevitable question from our children: “Mom, dad, you were there. Why didn't you do anything?” That applies to everyone: entrepreneurs, civil servants, consumers. Get inspired and join us!"

Maria van der Heijden

Director MVO Nederland