Looking back on a successful General Assembly

Looking back on a successful General Assembly

looking back on a successful general assembly

5 June 2024

On June 5th, our office in The Hague was buzzing with energy as we welcomed over sixty participating companies in the UN Global Compact to our General Assembly. The event was a resounding success, filled with insightful discussions and valuable networking opportunities. It was a pleasure to reconnect with familiar faces and meet new ones. We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who attended and contributed to the event’s success. We eagerly look forward to seeing you all again at our next General Assembly on December 3rd at Museon Omniversum, where we will continue to build our community!

Keynote and plenary session

We would like to extend our appreciation to Lucas Simons, founder of NewForesight and a renowned pioneer in systemic change and transitions, for delivering a captivating keynote speech that set an inspiring tone for the day. We hope everyone felt motivated to move beyond project-based working and dedicate yourself and your company to becoming a part of a systemic transition.

During the plenary session, we shared updates on governance and upcoming programmes. The 2023 financials were approved following positive feedback from our Audit Committee. We also introduced the new committee, which will include Olaf Brugman (Rabobank) and Adrie Heinsbroek (NN-Group). Another important announcement made was the revised contribution structure, with fees for subsidiary members increasing in 2026. At the next General Assembly, we will vote on a Statutes change.

Breakout sessions

Additionally, we’d like to thank Niels van den Beucken and Jan-Willem Scheijgrond for their engaging presentations during the breakout sessions. The success story of Arte Group and the example of Royal Philips’ commitment to multiple Forward Faster targets provided valuable perspectives and sparked meaningful dialogues among participants.

What to look forward to

Throughout the day we took the opportunity to share news & updates about exciting upcoming programmes and events. Such as:

  • SDG Ambition Accelerator: Is your company ready to take its sustainability targets to the next level? Join our SDG Ambition Accelerator from October 2024 onwards. Indicate your interest.
  • Business and Human Rights Accelerator: Looking for guidance on CSDDD? Join the Business and Human Rights Accelerator, starting October 2024! Express your interest.
  • SDG Flag Day: Show the world your company’s commitment towards achieving the SDGs by raising the flag on 25 September 2024. More information here.​​​​​
  • And last but not least, next year marks the 25th anniversary of the UN Global Compact, a milestone we are excited to celebrate worldwide. Your inspiring contributions during the third breakout session were greatly appreciated.

To everyone who attended: thank you for joining us! If you have any feedback or questions about the event, please feel free to reach out to our Participant Engagement Manager, Linde Reus at reus@unglobalcompact.nl. Additionally, if you are interested in being involved in our next General Assembly, Linde is the person to contact.

Internship Vacancy: Climate in Business

Internship Vacancy: Climate in Business


Position: Climate in Business Intern | Students only!

Duration: 6 months – start in May 2024

Location: The Hague, The Netherlands

Compensation: €600 per month – for 4 days a week

Do you want to help accelerate and upscale the positive impact of Dutch businesses to improve the lives of current and future generations? Ever wondered what it’s like to work for a UN initiative? Are you passionate about climate and engaging with climate experts and companies taking climate action?

If you answered yes to all three questions, come join the UN Global Compact Network Netherlands as our new Climate intern!

About UN Global Compact

UN Global Compact is the world’s largest business sustainability initiative. It has an unparalleled global reach and the exclusive opportunity to activate a diverse network of businesses to advance sustainable development in collaboration with investors, Government, UN, and civil society stakeholders.

The UN Global Compact Network Netherlands is the local network that works on Gender Equality, Living Wage, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Sustainable Finance, and Climate. For the Climate programmes, we are looking for an ambitious person who is eagerly looking for a dynamic internship experience in the topic of Climate.

What you will do

As Climate Intern, you will work as part of a young, diverse, and ambitious team on the development of our climate programmes in 2024. You will:

  • Support the Climate Ambition Accelerator and our Climate Peer Learning Group
  • Enrich our Climate initiatives and programmes with improvement suggestions.
  • Investigate and summarise the latest climate trends and climate reports from businesses and research institutes
  • Investigate relevant climate initiatives and partners in the Netherlands, Europe, and globally.


  • Support our climate programmes
  • Lead climate reporting analysis
  • Help out with events

Who we’re looking for:

  • You’re in your final year of an MSc University Degree in Business Management, Global Business & Sustainability, International Management, Business Analytics & Management, Strategic Entrepreneurship or similar
  • You are knowledgeable about climate, scope 1-2-3, scenarios, transition plans, climate initiatives
  • You are an excellent communicator in English, both verbally and in writing. Dutch is a plus
  • You are analytically driven and have strong quantitative and analytical capabilities
  • You are flexible, eager to learn and a real team player with a can-do mentality

Internship support

During your internship, you will work with and receive professional support from Firas Abdulhasain (Sr Programme Manager Climate) and Merei Wagenaar (Executive Director). You have the possibility to write your thesis on the topic of this internship.

Recruitment process

Please send your resume and cover letter (max 1 A4) to Firas Abdulhasain: Abdulhasain@unglobalcompact.nl by 23 april 2024 23:59 CET.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Firas Abdulhasain via Abdulhasain@unglobalcompact.nl. If you are selected for an interview, you will be invited for an in-person interview in the Malietoren (Bezuidenhoutseweg 12, The Hague). This interview will take place during the last week of April and first week of May.

‘Change the system, not the women’ – recap International Women’s Day 2024

‘Change the system, not the women’ – recap International Women’s Day 2024

‘Change the system, not the women’ – recap International Women’s Day 2024

Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress

Women are effective business leaders, yet they make up just 6% of CEOs globally. How do we get not only investors, but all of society to see the value of female leadership? On the 8th of March we celebrated International Women’s Day with this year’s theme being: Invest in Women. Together with our partners Euronext, UN Women Nederland, Women in ETFs, Optiver and Flow Traders we curated a full-day event brimming with insightful talks from inspiring speakers.

Mentoring and sponsoring programs

The day started bright and early with a breakfast session set in the historic boardroom, a space with a backstory: there was a time where women were barred from its doors. Today, the presence of our women organizers and attendees indicates the progress we’ve already made. Moderated by our Executive Director Merei Wagenaar, the session unfolded with an engaging conversation between Sten ter Horst, HR Director Center of Expertise for Talent and DE&I at AkzoNobel and Mariëtte Los, Partner & Chief Human Resources Officer and Member of the Executive Committee at Deloitte, shedding light on their approaches to advancing equality & inclusion within their respective companies.

Mariëtte elaborated further on Deloitte’s mentoring culture, emphasizing the significance of implementing both mentoring and sponsoring programs. The main difference between the two is that mentorship is mostly about someone providing you with advice and feedback whereas sponsorship involves someone directly advocating for your because they believe in your ability and potential. She stressed the importance of ensuring that all women have access to both forms of support.

In turn, Sten shed light on AkzoNobel’s strategy for navigating diverse cultures and addressing local challenges. Through collaboration with local resource groups, they gather insights on necessary policy adjustments. While these insights inform global policies, Sten emphasized the necessity of acknowledging that not all global policies seamlessly translate to local contexts. Thus, he underscored the importance of allowing flexibility for local adaptations.

Changing the system

At 9 AM sharp, the official bell-ringing ceremony took place, officially opening the trading day. Globally more than 100 stock exchanges participate in the ceremonial bell ringing with the aim to bring attention to the pivotal role the private sector can play in advancing gender equality and to raise awareness about the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs).

The morning programme continued with an inspiring talk by Hoba Gull, Dutch UN Women’s Representative, who emphasized that gender equality is more than investing in the representation of women in leadership positions, it’s about investing in changing conditions for all women. It’s about fighting poverty & violence, cultural norms and what we value in society. Ultimately, it’s about changing the system.

Her speech was followed by the introduction of the newly launched Pink Chip initiative. Pink Chip tracks women-led companies in markets around the world, helping investors to realize the true value of female leadership, free from the market bias that undervalues it.

Invest in women

After this insightful morning, the afternoon program was kicked off with a fireside chat between moderator Marianne Aalders from Euronext, our director Merei Wagenaar and Marije Cornelissen, Executive Director UN Women Nederland, emphasizing once more that investing in women is crucial to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. We cannot fight climate change without investing in women. Fostering equality can reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by nearly 70 gigatons between 2020 and 2050.

The day continued with a key note by Sacha de Boer, visual storyteller & photographer, who captivated the audience with an inspiring story about her encounters with powerful girls and women on her travels around the world – from Zimbabwe to the North Pole. Through her lens, she illuminated the hidden leadership roles held by women. Whether they are harvesting, cooking or teaching, her photographs showed us that it’s often the women who are the driving force shaping the world.

Last but not least, we invited Caroline Wouters, EVP and Chief Communications, Brand and Marketing Officer at Wolters Kluwer and Michiel Gilsing, CFO at Vopak, to share their take on gender related equality challenges in a panel discussion. Themes included establishing safe environments for women both within and beyond the workplace, the efficacy of quotas, and strategies for attracting female talent.

Not just another date on the calendar

The day was closed with a second bell-ringing ceremony followed by some drinks to unwind and reflect on this International Women’s Day. We look back on an engaging event that has hopefully inspired meaningful change.

And now that the dust has settled.. let’s shake it up again! Because being vocal about gender equality is and should not be restricted to one day only. Every day presents an opportunity to champion equality and challenge biases. Join the Target Gender Equality Accelerator and set ambitious corporate targets for women’s representation, equal pay and leadership in business. Application deadline: 31 May 2024.

How to raise climate awareness in your organization

How to raise climate awareness in your organization

How to Raise climate awareness in your organization

In 2023, UN Global Compact Network Netherlands facilitated two Peer Learning Groups: one on Gender Equality and one on Climate Action. The goal is for the participating companies to learn more about these important topics, to dig into the challenges that they are facing, and to exchange best practices that can help overcome these challenges.

Raising climate awareness in your organization can be a challenge, especially considering the amount and complexity of knowledge that is available. How can you increase awareness in our organization? During the fifth and final session of the 2023 Climate Action Peer Learning Group at the Invest-NL HQ, thre professionals shared their perspective on different ways to make a case for climate change within the organization.

One possible approach is gamification. By applying game elements and principles to illustrate complex topics such as the causes and consequences of climate change, ‘players’ often experience enhanced engagement and motivation. An example of gamifying climate action is Climate FRESK. The game is simple and based on scientific knowledge. It comprises 42 cards and can be played with three groups of eight players each.

Another approach is to track your carbon footprint. During the Peer Learning Group session, Jo Hand from Giki Zero explained why tracking your carbon through helps to raise awareness. The platform is developed and based on scientific knowledge and includes 160 steps to build a sustainable lifestyle. It provides feedback, motivates colleagues to learn more about sustainability, and increases engagement with each other within the organization by addressing different personalities.

Being carbon literate is essential in combating climate change. Carbon literacy means “an awareness of the carbon costs and impacts of everyday activities and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions on an individual, community, and organizational basis.” Phil Korbel, from The Carbon Literacy Project, explained how to become carbon literate and emphasized that it is not enough to learn by oneself, but that you should be involved in peer-to-peer social learning. By learning from peers, you develop a sense of belonging, trust, and support, as well as gain recognition and appreciation for skills and contributions.

Lastly, Martine Kruiswijk, from KlimaatGesprekken, stressed the transition from awareness to action, since this is not always a given. Any behavioral process takes time, and it is vital to go through this process together by engaging with your colleagues and friends.

After these inspiring contributions of the speakers, the participants carried out a plenary discussion about how to use these methods within their own organization. Each participant created a five-step action plan and shared their outcomes with their peers in breakout rooms.

We’d like to grant a special thanks to the host of this session, Andrea Dijk, from Invest-NL. She has shared how Invest-NL is staying inspired to keep progressing on climate ambition. Increasing time investment between colleagues, benefiting the knowledge contribution from invited speakers, organizing impact challenges for teams, and informing everyone with an ESG & Impact newsletter can help organizations create internal motivation and awareness.

Participant Survey 2023

Participant Survey 2023

Participant Survey 2023

Dear UN Global Compact participant,

Thank you for taking the time to fill in this Participant Survey. The outcomes of this questionnaire are valuable to us, as it will help us prioritize and define our future activities based on your interests. The information will be treated confidentially and will only be accessible to UN Global Compact NL. The survey should take no more than 5 minutes to fill in.

Merei Wagenaar, Executive Director of UN Global Compact Netherlands

* is required

Sorry. This form is no longer available.

Learning about equity, a game about exclusion, and tips for inclusion

Learning about equity, a game about exclusion, and tips for inclusion

Learning about equity, a game about exclusion, and tips for inclusion 

This year, UN Global Compact Network Netherlands is piloting two peer learning groups, one on Gender Equality and one on Climate Action. The goal is for the participating companies to learn more about these important topics, to dig into the challenges that they are facing, and to exchange best practices that can help overcome these challenges. This blog is the first of many in which we aim to capture our companies’ peer learning journey.

Equity versus Equality

Earlier this month, we held our first gender equality session on the topic of “Inequality vs. Inequity”, hosted by one of the co-leading companies – Deloitte – in their Edge-office in Amsterdam.

Equality and equity are often confused. Equality refers to an equal distribution of resources and opportunities. The problem with this is that this implies everyone benefits the same from this support. This assumption is false since people’s starting position and therefore also their needs can differ. “Equity” acknowledges these differences and seeks to provide the required support they need to achieve the same equitable outcome. Ultimately, we as a society and our companies should strive for equitable outcomes to get to fair outcomes.

Deloitte co-leads: Hilary Richters , Karen Lampe & Jason Jie

But how do we get to equality?

Companies’ daily HR practices determine whether or not someone gets hired, promoted, or paid a specific salary. Associations with people’s genders, race, jobs often have the effect of putting people into different – unequal – social groups.

Jason Jie, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Specialist at Deloitte Netherlands, explained that companies should ensure an inclusive environment that appreciates everyone’s unique, diverse characteristics and backgrounds. Companies should also reflect on their work culture, which could exclude certain groups of people.  

To get a better understanding of the feeling of exclusion, Jason prepared a simulation game around including and excluding behaviours. All participants were assigned roles by putting on a pair of glasses with a card, with numbers between 2 and 10 – so you could see each other’s numbers, but not your own. Everyone was given the task to only talk to people with high numbers – and ignore people with low numbers. During the evaluation of the game, everyone could effortlessly guess whether they had a high or low number. It made participants aware of the subtle behaviours we have at work where we may exclude people instead of making them feel welcome.

Interestingly, Jason noted that the social norm on what’s considered legitimate inclusion or exclusion changes over time. For example, an employee resource group for LGBTQIA+ people to share their experiences could be seen to legitimately include one group and exclude others. It’s therefore important to keep having dialogues on what inclusion means, and how it can contribute towards equity.

Companies’ best practices to promote equity 

Throughout the session, companies exchanged best practices to promote more inclusive, equitable work environments. For example, Deloitte has a Panel & Proposal Promise: they aim for panels and proposal teams to consist of 40% men, 40% women, and 20% of employees that belong to underrepresented groups. A different company shared that before they start an application process, they map the existing team and what traits or characteristics could help diversify the team. This could mean focusing on a different gender, ethnicity, or educational background, and considering whether people are extroverts or introverts. Another company shared that they promote a more diverse pool of applicants in a male-dominated sector by ensuring that if internal application processes don’t have at least 33% women  applicants, they will open up the position externally to reach this.

At the end of our session, our group of companies committed to implementing at least one inclusive practice in their business. We will reflect on how this went during the next session on April 13.

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