Partnership towards sustainable business

24 Oct 2017
Prof Jan Peter Balkenende, Netherlands’ former Prime Minister, speaks in SMU’s Presidential Distinguished Lecturer Series

“We are living in fascinating times,” said Professor Jan Peter Balkenende, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands (2002–10), at the end of his Presidential Distinguished Lecturer Series lecture on 11 September 2017. “We have opportunities and challenges. The global agenda is clear: the global development goals and climate change... We cannot go on with the current production and consumption cycle so we have to rethink our business models. We have to work together. So we need some new alliances and the circular economy gives us hope for the future.”

His lecture was graced by dignitaries including Her Excellency Margriet Vonno, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Singapore and Brunei, ‎Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Singapore and was well attended by participants from the government ministries, the business sector and the SMU community.

In his welcome address, SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer said, “In 2016, the government of the Netherlands announced a nation-wide ambition to be fully 'circular' by 2050. A circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design, in contrast to the 'take, make and dispose' model of a traditional linear economy. Professor Balkenende will tackle the question of what is the expected impact on societal challenges and sustainable development goals, and importantly, what is the expected international competitive advantage for Dutch industry?”

“Such issues are of interest to many of us here at SMU. We consider Urban Management & Sustainability to be an SMU Research Area of Excellence. We recently introduced a module on Managing Sustainability in our ground-breaking SMU-X curriculum. And our Case Writing project has published several case studies on related subjects, such as 'Creating Value Through Sustainability’ which focussed on property developer CDL,” explained Prof De Meyer.

Prof Balkenende opened the lecture by setting out the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition's agenda, discussing its goals and strategies for 2017. He also shared his views on pressing global climate issues, how circular economy can help pave the way towards a sustainable future, and provided valuable insights on how corporations, big or small, may adopt sustainable practices in manageable ways.

Following the lecture was a highly engaging question-and-answer session chaired by Prof De Meyer, during which the audience posed a variety of thought-provoking questions on topics such as sustainability in business and governance.

Prof Balkenende’s lecture was well attended by participants from the government ministries, the business sector and the SMU community.

Members of the audience posed a variety of thought-provoking questions on topics such as sustainability in business and governance, in a dialogue session moderated by SMU President Prof Arnoud De Meyer.

Prof De Meyer presented Prof Balkenende with a token of appreciation at the end of the lecture.

See more photos of the event here.

Watch a video of the event on our YouTube channel:

Part 1: https://youtu.be/hEWQzqq9RD8

Part 2: https://youtu.be/VgameqSEsDE

Last updated on 24 Oct 2017.

Share this page