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, co-founder of Veniam and the New Urban Mobility Alliance, Board member of the World Resources Institute and Tucows, and serves as an informal advisor to many cities, national governments, and transport agencies on the transition to shared automated vehicles.

Ertharin Cousin

Ertharin Cousin is a Distinguished Fellow with The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, visiting scholar at Stanford University and Board Member of both Bayer S.A. and Heifer International as well as Trustee on the Rwanda based AKADEMIYA2063 Board of Directors. She served as the twelfth Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme from 2012 to 2017 and the US Ambassador for Food and Agriculture.

Paul Gilding

Paul Gilding is a social entrepreneur, author and corporate strategy advisor. His is a Fellow at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (UK), author of The Great Disruption (Bloomsbury, London, 2011). Paul was also the Executive director of Greenpeace International during the 1990s.

Sir David King

Professor Sir David King is Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, University of Cambridge; Founder and Chair of the Centre for Climate Repair in the University; an Affiliate Partner of SYSTEMIQ Limited; and Senior Strategy Adviser to the President of Rwanda. He was the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative on Climate Change 2013–2017.

Ndidi Nwuneli

Ndidi Nwuneli is a social entrepreneur and Founder of LEAP Africa and Nourishing Africa, and co-founder of AACE Food Processing & Distribution Ltd. (AACE Foods), an indigenous agro-processing company in Nigeria. She is also the managing partner of Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition, which works across Africa, transforming the nutrition and agriculture landscapes, via innovative ecosystem solutions.

Ye Qi

Ye Qi is Director of the Institute for Public Policy at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Cheung Kong Professor of Environmental Policy at Tsinghua University in Beijing (China). Before joining Tsinghua, he taught at Beijing Normal University, and the University of California at Berkeley (California, USA).

Feike Sijbesma

Feike Sijbesma was CEO of Royal DSM between 2007 and 2020. After leaving DSM Feike Sijbesma was appointed Honorary Chairman. For a large part of 2020 he acted as Special Corona Envoy for the Netherlands, mainly focused on increasing test capacity. Feike is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Royal Philips N.V. He is also a non-executive Board member of Unilever and a member of the Supervisory Board of the Dutch Central Bank (DNB). He co-chairs the Global Centre for Adaptation together with former UN SG Ban Ki Moon. He is member of the Board of Trustees of the WEF and he advises on addressing malnutrition in Africa via Africa Improved Foods. Feike promotes long term focuses, stakeholder- and purpose-driven way of running companies, with sustainability, innovation and diversity as key elements.

Rob Routs

Former Member of the DSM Supervisory Board  and Chairman until 2021. Degree in Chemical Engineering from the Technical University of Eindhoven and a Ph.D. in the Technical Sciences. Devoted the professional side of his life to the energy sector during his 37-year career with Royal Dutch Shell plc. Building up a global energy sector leadership as well as operating and board experience. Served in regional manufacturing and global general manager positions, restructuring operations to enhance business operations.  Led the company’s sustainability efforts.

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. We also map our disclosures toward the WEF Stakeholder Capitalism metrics and SASB.

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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  • Product stewardship

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  • Corporate Governance

    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.