It was in 2004 when Dutch State Secretary for Economic Affairs Gerrit Ypema set up the CSR knowledge and information centre for small and medium-sized enterprises. The original goal: to promote know-how about and provide information on CSR to entrepreneurs, civic organisations, local authorities and citizens. It was the beginning of what MVO Nederland is now, namely the movement for entrepreneurs in the New Economy.
It stemmed from the fact that at that time, the Dutch Social and Economic Council felt it necessary to provide a counterweight to the predominating system of shareholder capitalism. A business’s profit must not be earned at the expense of people and the environment. In addition, an entrepreneur was felt to be a corporate citizen who should use part of his profit for the good of society. In 2013, the name of the foundation was changed to Stichting MVO Nederland.
Over the course of the years, MVO Nederland has changed from being an organisation fully funded by the government to one that is independent. MVO Nederland has not received any basic subsidy since January 2013. It is true that we are still publicly financed in part but primarily for particular projects. Over the years, our ties with the government have been broadened from Economic Affairs to include other Dutch Ministries too.
MVO NEDERLAND, NOW AND IN THE FUTURE
In 2019, MVO Nederland will be celebrating the 15th anniversary of its founding. These days we are primarily involved in working pro-actively. This is because these days, corporate social responsibility is not the same as it was fifteen years ago. As a result, the goals of our organisation have changed too. The time of making policy, flowery words and debating societies is over; now it’s time to take action. MVO Nederland plays a facilitating role in this work, by bringing our partners together for innovative joint projects, by organising events that inspire and act as a call to action, and by helping companies to implement their sustainable ambitions.