Our passion is to improve the quality of life; this also applies to the communities in which we operate. Sustainable urbanization is our main area on which we focus in our company-wide community involvement strategy, since we are well positioned to address this challenge with our expertise on the fields of infrastructure, water, environment, buildings and urban planning.
As our towns and cities grow at unprecedented rates, urbanization is one of the most pressing challenges facing the global community in the 21st century. Making sustainable improvements to the urban environment is critical to delivering lasting results for all our communities. For this reason Arcadis has a global partnership with UN-Habitat, the United Nations agency for human settlements. Arcadis also dedicates time, expertise and money to many local community involvement initiatives.
UN-Habitat Partnership Program
The partnership with UN-Habitat, known as the Shelter Program, was signed in March 2010 and is aimed at our common goal: to improve the quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world. Through the Shelter Program we provide pro bono expertise for UN-Habitat projects, mostly by visiting projects and providing consultancy on location, in close cooperation with UN-Habitat and the local government. In addition to the consultancy work in some locations the Shelter program participates in training courses and workshops.
In 2014, ten missions, trainings and other Shelter activities were organized in Asia, Africa and Middle America , in which over 25 Arcadis experts have shared their expertise and skills to help bring our joint mission forward. In 2014 200+ staff members joined a Shelter activity.
Program activities in 2014 included:
- As follow-up of the first rapid response mission after typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, a Shelter team worked in February 2014 with UN-Habitat Philippines to provide further support for the destroyed communities.
- Ten Shelter missions, amongst others on urban coastal protection to Haiti, on master planning for secondary cities in Rwanda and on water management in the Philippines and the Solomon Islands.
- Presentation of the Shelter Program Manager about the partnership at the 7th World Urban Forum in Medellin, Colombia in April.
- Visit of Dr. Joan Clos, the executive director of UN-Habitat and the vice secretary general of the United Nations at the Arcadis headquarters in Amsterdam, including the resigning of the Memorandum of Understanding for the World Urban Campaign.
- Fourth Annual Shelter Academy to provide knowledge for high level officials from Partner Cities from UN-Habitat in September in The Netherlands, organized in cooperation with UN-Habitat.
- Participation in the World Urban Campaign activities and steering committees
- Several projects of the Shelter program are part of the Cities and Climate Change Initiative of UN-Habitat, in which local governments are supported to develop strategies to counter the effects of climate change and prevent flooding.
- Moreover we are a main sponsor of the World Urban Campaign, an initiative of UN-Habitat acknowledged by the United Nations as a lead advocacy platform on urban issues to increase awareness and knowledge for better cities, better life through successful urban solutions. The program is financially supported by the Lovinklaan Foundation, Arcadis’ largest shareholder, which represents our staff.
Urban October was developed by UN-Habitat to raise awareness, promote participation, generate knowledge and engage the international community towards a New Urban Agenda, starting on World Habitat Day on 6 October 2014 and ending on World Cities Day taking place on 31 October in Shanghai. Arcadis was marking this event by organizing 15 workshops on sustainable urbanization in offices all over the world. Staff members were challenged to give their view on this topic and to contribute to the Urban Agenda of Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development to take place in 2016. The outcomes of these workshops have been bundled and shared with UN Habitat.
In November 2014 our CEO Neil McArthur received a recognition plaque in Manilla, signed by UN-Habitat country program manager Chris Rollo and Undersecretary Cecilia Alba, secretary general of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council of Philippines government.
Community involvement activities
We encourage our people to get involved in local community programs with expertise, time and donations. A few examples follow:
Water for People
Arcadis North America is a global sponsor of Water For People, committing to a $100,000 annual donation. Water For People exists for one purpose, and it is as simple as the name: for all people to have safe, continuous water.
Arcadis Netherlands has a partnership with KNHM in which Arcadis invests €300,000 annually. With this program we support people who want to improve the quality of life of their neighbourhood and assists people who want to realise their idea aiming at the improvement of the physical living environment. We support people with our knowledge.
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.
United Way Fall Giving Campaign
For almost 30 years, CallisonRTKL has given back to the community through United Way. By bringing together a variety of community leaders - from business, government and local citizens - United Way identifies major issues in our communities and then works together to find solutions.
A Place to Go
The “A Place to Go” project is a very successful local fundraising project of the CallisonRTKL office in Washington, DC which led to the building of a school in Kenya. CallisonRTKL team members travelled to Kenya for the grand opening celebration of the school.
Arcadis also supports several other initiatives around the world, including Habitat for Humanity, the Mother Theresa Foundation and the CRASH program in the UK. CRASH is a practical charity addressing the issues of homelessness by harnessing the skills, products and goodwill of the construction and property industry to improve hostels, day centres, night shelters, training centres and move-on accommodation, for frontline homelessness agencies who work directly with homeless people.
Value of our community involvement activities
For the Shelter Program activities on average we provide four years’ worth of working time annually. These hours are composed of expertise from our people going on Shelter missions or working in our offices on Shelter programs. Moreover 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 a maximum of €440,000 per year
The table below gives a non-exhaustive overview of the monetary value of Arcadis pro bono corporate citizenship activities for 2014 in some of the countries in which the company is active. The information below comprises commitments outside of the Shelter program as detailed above.
Total amount (€)
Funds donated by Arcadis to charitable institutions
Funds donated by company staff to charitable institutions (sometimes matched by the company)