Get the balance right

Managing sustainability

People, Planet, Profit

We manage sustainability across what we call the ‘triple bottom line’ of social, environmental and economic benefits (people, planet and profit) – with the goal of making lives brighter for all.?


Brighter lives for all means treating all with dignity and respect. At DSM we operate based on openness, fairness and trust that welcomes diverse opinions and experiences and encourages people to think - and act - for themselves. Our safety programs and policies ensure that our people can return home from work safely each day; while our Human Rights policy extends to suppliers, customers and local communities.


At DSM we’re proving that doing well by doing good really is possible. In fact, it’s a daily reality. That means creating shared value based on honest fair, transparent, ethical (and of course legally compliant) business. DSM does this through smart and efficient management, but most importantly we achieve it through our shared purpose of ensuring that there’s more to our bottom line…than the bottom line.


Safeguarding our planet can't be done in isolation. At DSM we follow the chemical industry’s Responsible Care? Program and we are a member of the Council of Chemical Associations’ long-range research initiative. Our Advanced Manufacturing program is changing how we work and think; and we continue to strive for both more sustainable supply chains – and supplier relationships.


At DSM, sustainability starts at the top with our Managing Board. Our Sustainability Leadership Team - which includes representatives from each of our business groups and functions - is chaired by the Vice President Corporate Sustainability who oversees the integration of sustainability into our business - as well as our sustainability performance and targets each quarter.

To support the company in managing its sustainability policies,?DSM's Supervisory Board?appointed its own Sustainability Committee in 2009 to supervise the Managing Board on sustainability matters.

Advisory Board

In 2011 we also established an?external Sustainability Advisory Board?- a diverse, international group of thought leaders and sustainability practitioners to help deepen our understanding of sustainability and key topics like malnutrition, climate change, renewable energy and inequality in particular. The Board acts as a?sparring partner for the Executive Committee and other senior executives; it supports our company in sharpening our focus on the important issues, deepening our understanding of external stakeholder needs, conducting advocacy efforts and handling dilemmas.

Robin Chase

Robin Chase is co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar, the world's largest car-sharing company, as well as co-founder and board member of Veniam, a vehicle communications company building the networking fabric for the Internet of Moving Things. Robin also sits on the Boards of the World Resources Institute and Tucows and serves as an advisor to the French National Digital Agency and the USDOT’s Advisory Committee on Automated Transportation.

Ertharin Cousin

Ertharin Cousin served as the 12th Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme from 2012 to 2017. Cousin was then appointed a Distinguished Fellow with The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a Trustee on the UK-based Power of Nutrition Board of Directors. In 2014 she was ranked 45th on Forbes Magazine's List of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women and also named in the TIME 100 most influential people in the world list. She is currently a Payne Distinguished Lecturer at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and a Distinguished Fellow at both the Center on Food Security and the Environment, and the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.

Paul Gilding

Paul Gilding is an independent writer and corporate advisor on sustainability and Fellow at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (UK). In 2011 he published his book “The Great Disruption”. In the 1990s, he was executive director of Greenpeace International.

Sir David King

Sir David King is the Special Representative for Climate Change of the UK government since 2013. From 2008 to 2012, he served as the founding director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford (UK). He was Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK government 2000-2007.

Ndidi Nwuneli

Ndidi Nwuneli is the founder of?LEAP Africa?and co-founder of AACE Food Processing & Distribution Ltd. (AACE Foods), an indigenous agro-processing company in Lagos, Nigeria. She is also a partner at?Sahel Capital, an advisory and private equity firm focused on the agribusiness and manufacturing sectors in West Africa.

Ye Qi

Ye Qi is Cheung Kong professor of Environmental Policy and director of Brooking-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy at Tsinghua University in Beijing (China). Before he joined Tsinghua, he taught at Beijing Normal University, and the University of California at Berkeley (California, USA).

Incentives for sustainability

In line with our goal of doing well by doing good, the?remuneration of DSM’s Managing Board?is based on both short and long-term goals that stretch beyond purely financial targets. Some 50% of board members' total compensation is a base salary. Variable income (bonuses) makes up the remaining 50% of salary. Variable income is comprised equally of short-term and long-term incentives.

Short-term incentives?include the proportion of products qualifying as?Brighter Living Solutions, employee engagement, and safety performance. Long-term incentives?include progress in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy efficiency.

This total compensation package is based on the average of a labor-market peer group and it’s all overseen by a remuneration committee.

Audits and reporting

Because sustainability is so important to us, we report on the progress of our sustainability targets in an integrated way alongside our financial targets. We base our sustainability reporting in our Integrated Annual Reports based on the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Comprehensive option.?

Meanwhile our Corporate Operational Audit department conducts regular sustainability audits as part of the company’s Corporate Risk Management activities (including unannounced audits). Increasingly, these audits aren’t focused purely on DSM, but also apply to our various partners and suppliers.

At DSM we believe that strong sustainability leadership means being transparent about our sustainability performance - which means we also report ‘what still went wrong’ across our People, Planet and Profit performance every year.

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  • Stakeholder engagement

    With its scientific resources and knowledge DSM has a unique opportunity to influence and shape the sustainability agenda, but we cannot do it alone.

  • Product stewardship

    We work tirelessly to manage and minimize all possible adverse effects of our products on people and the environment, across the entire value chain.

  • Corporate Governance

    We believe in doing business the right way: from our management and supervisory boards, to our code of business conduct, to our position papers and statements on key industry issues.

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