Nederlandse versie making business work for society

In-house sutainability expert at Schiphol Group

The assignment

Schiphol Group has developed an ambitious sustainability program that enables the airport to meet the expected future growth in passenger numbers. This program is currently being implemented and realized throughout the company and its different business areas. To this end, the Corporate Responsibility (CR) program needed to be translated into a more specific and embedded plan for the business area Consumer Products, which is responsible for the commercial activities at the airport, such as parking and retail (project 1). Furthermore, Schiphol has expressed the ambitious goal to develop a new terminal and pier that will be considered as the most sustainable terminal in the world. This required an approach on how to realize this goal (project 2). One of the consultants of Steward Redqueen has supported Schiphol in order to succeed in these two endeavors.

The solution

Our consultant was committed to Schiphol on a fulltime and in-house basis for a period of six months. This enabled the acquisition of adequate knowledge of the dynamics in, and enhance the cooperation with the company. As a result, this increased the support for the outcomes of the two projects. On the other hand, the consultant got first-hand experience in operating within a large company with its particular dynamics and processes.

The solution for Project 1: consistent CR Plan for Consumers

Based on stakeholder interviews and desk research, a thorough assessment of Schiphol’s peers, business partners, best practices, and its current and potential activities was executed. Next, the consultant supported the management team of the Consumers department in the formulation of a vision and ambition to CR. This was followed by a consistent CR plan for the department and its retail business partners. It consists of relevant KPI’s and targets that are compatible with both the specific commercial activities and the corporate ambitions. Furthermore, a management approach was formulated to enhance buy-in and cooperation from both employees and business partners. Amongst others, this described the set-up of a pilot to develop a so-called Green Lease for business partners. Subsequently, a detailed action plan was drafted that supports the department with the necessary first steps to implement the CR plan and continuously increase support for its CR activities.

The solution for Project 2: Pragmatic approach to sustainable terminal ambition

Extensive desk research at the beginning of the project resulted in a benchmark of peers about the definition of a ‘sustainable terminal’. Furthermore, the consultant took a permanent role in the sustainability working group of the project and was responsible for the processing of sustainable ideas, creating communication materials and engaging the company with the project. The consultant was responsible for intensive communication with both internal and external stakeholders, through market consultation and internal engagement.

Throughout the assignment, the consultant proved to be a valuable asset in the materialization of Schiphol’s ambition and defined a pragmatic approach on how to define the sustainability ambition in the tender document for the development of the project.

The benefits

For both projects, it proved valuable for Schiphol to have an in-house expert with extensive sustainability knowledge and authority. Being in-house enabled the consultant to acquire deep  knowledge of and be close to the internal dynamics and processes while keeping an objective standpoint. This resulted in a pragmatic, embedded and supported approach to sustainability that enables Schiphol to meet its sustainability ambitions, while remaining realistic regarding the activities of Schiphol in general and of the consumers department in specific.

The Steward Redqueen consultant supported Schiphol in an engaged and knowledgeable way and formulated pragmatic advice that takes into consideration both the different (commercial) activities of Schiphol, interests of our various stakeholders and our CR ambitions. She operated independently throughout the company, was committed to our ambitions and engaged in a professional and pleasant manner. This combination of expertise, pragmatism and enthusiasm contributed to internal and external support for the realization of Schiphol’s sustainability ambitions.
Jonas van Stekelenburg
Manager Sustainability Schiphol