• Sustainability

Community Impact

We have a commitment to improve quality of life in the communities in which we operate. Sustainable urbanization is an area in which we are well positioned with our expertise in the fields of infrastructure, water, environment, buildings, and urban planning. As many cities grow at unprecedented rates, urbanization is one of the most pressing challenges facing the global community. Making sustainable improvements to the urban environment is critical to delivering lasting results for communities.

For this reason, Arcadis has a global partnership with UN-Habitat, the United Nations’ agency for human settlements. Established in 2010, the Shelter program celebrated its seventh successful year in 2016. The program is unique in that it combines both financial support and Arcadian expertise.


The Shelter program, was established in March 2010 and aims to improve quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world. Through it we provide pro-bono expertise for UN-Habitat projects, mostly by visiting projects and providing consultations on location, in close cooperation with UN-Habitat and the local government. In addition to the consultancy work, the Shelter Program participates in training courses and workshops in some locations.

In 2016, Arcadis participated in eleven Shelter missions including visits to Kenya, Nepal, Fiji, and a follow up mission to Haiti, among others. The program organized thirteen Shelter workshops aimed at involving our wider employee base. The sixth annual Shelter Academy was held in October in the Netherlands, where ten officials from developing countries, recommended by UN-Habitat, made and implemented an action plan based on case studies on climate adaptation and mitigation during a week-long program.

A book was published providing an overview of the first five years of the Shelter program and was presented to Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat and Undersecretary General of the UN.

Arcadis also participates in and is a main sponsor of the World Urban Campaign, an initiative of UN-Habitat that the United Nations acknowledges as a leading advocacy platform to increase awareness and knowledge on urban issues, and improve quality of life through successful urban solutions. In addition to sponsoring this program, Arcadis also provides expertise. In 2016, a considerable amount of effort was put into the preparation of the Habitat III conference at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. In its third installation, October’s conference, held in Quito, Ecuador, outlined the New Urban Agenda – an action-oriented document to set global standards in sustainable urban development.

Arcadis attended the conference to demonstrate how our organization’s skills and knowledge can improve quality of life against the growing challenge of urbanization. The Company did so on the invitation of the organizing UN Bureau as co-chair of the General Assembly of Partners stakeholder group for Business and Industry. The GAP stakeholder groups have been advising on the New Urban Agenda, the policy document which will be guiding urban development for the next 20 years. In Quito, the recommendations were presented to Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki Moon and many of the recommendations were incorporated in the New Urban Agenda.


Arcadis also dedicates time, expertise, and money to many local community involvement initiatives. We encourage our people to get involved in local community programs by offering their expertise and time. A few examples are provided below.


Arcadis has had a partnership with the Philippine Community Fund (‘PFC’) since 2007 and designed the Tondo School for the children of the Smokey Mountain rubbish dump in Manila. This school was built using recycled shipping containers and has become a true example of sustainability by providing the children and their families with food and health care, as well as offering employment for their parents.


In several countries, Arcadis people belong to the organization Engineers without Borders. These members volunteer their time, their energy and their expertise in pursuit of this organization’s vision of a world where every community has the capacity to sustainably meet their basic human needs.


In the Netherlands, Arcadis works together with KNHM and invested approximately €165,000 in 2016. With this program, we support people who want to improve the quality of life in their neighborhood and assist people who want to realize the ideas to improve the physical living environment. We support people with our knowledge. KNHM is a foundation, a predecessor organization to Arcadis and holds approximately 4% of Arcadis' outstanding shares.


For the Shelter Program activities, on average we provide four years’ worth of time annually. These hours are composed of expertise from our people going on Shelter missions or working in our offices on Shelter programs. Arcadis donates €160,000 on an annual basis to UN-Habitat, amongst others for the sponsorship of the World Urban Campaign. The Shelter program is financially supported by the Lovinklaan Foundation for up to a maximum of €440,000 each year.