Nearly a quarter of companies do not expect to be carbon neutral until 2100

This is apparent from the report ‘Outcomes Dutch Innovation Monitor 2021’, which was commissioned by the UvA’s Amsterdam Center for Business Innovation.

55 percent of Dutch companies say they want to be virtually climate neutral by 2030 at the latest. That is more than last year’s 48 percent.


At the same time, there are also many companies that have become more gloomy. For example, 22 percent (against 33 percent last year) expects to be carbon neutral between 2031 and 2050. The proportion of companies that fear they will tax the climate for at least the next 79 years, until 2100, is rising from 13 percent last year to 22 percent today.

The average year in which companies think they have completely or almost completely reduced their ecological footprint is even increasing, from 2045 to 2047.


Professor Henk Volberda, research leader and professor of strategy & innovation at the UvA, calls the fact that more than one in five companies in our country thinks that they will pollute the environment at least this century, ‘a very worrying development’.

Companies that think they will not be able to become climate neutral for the rest of this century will eventually have to do so, Volberda expects, ‘otherwise they will die’.

He cannot estimate which part of the companies thinks that this will continue to cause pollution in the next almost 80 years. “Of course, this also depends on how quickly the government introduces more stringent environmental and sustainability legislation.”

‘Head in the sand’

Companies that do think they will be climate neutral fairly soon are more concerned with the future and do not bury their heads in the sand, according to Volberda. According to the professor, they have a much more long-term planning horizon and invest more in R&D, ICT and their staff.

According to the professor, companies that do not think they will be climate neutral before the year 2100 only focus on the short term and hardly plan ahead. These laggards have actually started to invest less in their staff, R&D and ICT during the corona crisis, says Volberda

Nevertheless, many companies are engaged in corporate social responsibility (CSR), but they are more concerned with staff development and health programs for them.

Winning is often the most important

For Dutch companies, making a profit is often the most important. 45 percent of them cite this as their main motivation. For only 21 percent, ethical motives are a priority.

Volberda therefore concludes that ‘the damage to people and nature is often not yet measured, and there are still relatively few companies with a certified environmental management system’.

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