Impact case of the month: 'How to make strategic decisions to benefit people, planet, and profits simultaniously'
If an organization wants to do business responsibly and make strategic decisions that benefit people, the environment, and the market, the golden rule is: to measure is to know. That is why Annemieke Roobeek, Jacques de Swart, and Myrthe van der Plas developed the 'Corporate Responsibility' framework, which organizations can use to make seven-step decisions that increase profits while making a positive impact on people and the environment.
The framework is linked to innovative online software called Responsible Business Simulator (RBS). Key data from sources such as cost-benefit analyses, research reports, and benchmark studies are analyzed using the RBS. In addition, the organization's values, strategy, goals, and risk tolerance are taken into account. The results help executives within the government, healthcare, life science industry, and financial institutions, among others, to make socially responsible choices for a future-proof organization.
Prof. Jacques de Swart, Professor of Applied Mathematics at Nyenrode Business University gives an example: "Rimetaal is an innovative metal construction company that focuses on the development, production, sale, and maintenance of waste collection systems, among other things. Rimetaal's track record showed that customers, such as municipalities, based their selection of their suppliers more on price than on sustainability. The RBS showed that leasing a waste system in combination with a maintenance contract is the best choice for customers, as well as for Rimetaal itself, to be affordable and future-proof. For their wallets, but also for people and the environment because this way of working contributes to a circular economy."
According to his colleague Prof. Annemieke Roobeek, Professor of Strategy and Transformation Management, this example also shows that the framework reduces the so-called "say-do gap". "It helps organizations and companies fulfill their promises to buy sustainably. Municipalities prefer sustainable products but often still choose low-cost alternatives. Rimetaal has shown with the help of the RBS that it can be done differently, that a win-win is possible with a different business model that allows them to make sustainable impact together with their customers without higher costs."
The framework is also applicable to non-commercial companies, which is demonstrated by the health insurer for health care personnel IZZ. With the RBS, IZZ measured the impact of interventions, such as more flexible work schedules and paying more attention to physical and mental health of care personnel, on indicators such as absenteeism, staff turnover, satisfaction, and labor costs. Roobeek: "IZZ thus supports healthcare institutions to reduce high staff turnover, burn-outs, insecurity, and low employee satisfaction. It is a great example of how a health insurer takes its responsibility to help not only its policyholders, but the entire health care sector. And that has also been our goal with this framework: to help leaders take responsibility by considering the whole picture of financial and non-financial variables, and including the time factor. In this way, it becomes possible to use a data-driven strategy to make the world a little bit better."
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Meanwhile, the RBS has not only been implemented at 20+ organizations, it has also been incorporated into Nyenrode Business University's teaching. Myrthe van der Plas developed and taught this module to 200+ students and says: "Initially students find it a somewhat vague subject. When we teach them how to use data and software to quantify and compare the impact of decisions on both profit, people, and the environment for more dialogue on strategic priorities, it becomes tangible and relevant to them."
An impact case includes a research portfolio around a central theme, focusing on the reach and impact of that research. The impact cases are easy to read for a broad audience, they demonstrate how Nyenrode is strengthening its connection to practice and how faculty members are finding practical solutions to relevant and current challenges in practice.
The impact cases are divided into the categories Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Stewardship, and Educational Innovation.
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