Flashing forward with non-executives in a historic place

In May 2024, I had the honor of addressing a group of non-executive directors on how they could integrate sustainability into their supervisory role. Instead of a one-way presentation, we had an inspiring dialogue about the future in a place that breathes the past (Koninklijke Industrieele Groote Club). Here are the key highlights of our conversation:

As a non-executive director, you may need courage to face the brutal pace of change in the company’s context. And to align corporate leadership with that change in context. To discuss whether you’ll use sustainability as a spark, or merely manage for compliance. And to align the governance model accordingly.

Sustainability, ESG, CSR, RBC? In the end, it is all about setting a clear focus that is relevant for a company. Looking into impacts, risks, and opportunities across the value chain, just like the CSRD double materiality assessment requires for larger companies.

To future-proof the company, companies should connect with internal and external stakeholders, as well as knowledge. That’s true for non-executives, too. Ask the sustainability director to present the sustainability strategy and progress – with the CEO. That way you’ll also see how integrated sustainability is at the top.

The passionate discussions showed another level of connection for non-execs: connection with the self, the heart. So while the picture may look a bit like a family portrait from the past, it actually supports the memory of a dialogue about the future!

Thank you Sofie van Londen for inviting me to speak. And to the many non-executive directors in the room for the inspiring conversations around the dinner table.

This post was written by Marjolein Baghuis for the Change in Context blog. It was also posted on LinkedIn. To read interviews with interesting people, book reviews, and other posts about change, leadership, and sustainability, please subscribe.

Share your thoughts and comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.