Breakout Sessions

Breakout Sessions

We are thrilled to host leading organisations; presenting stimulating cases that participants can examine and offer ideas with potential solutions. RSM faculty moderators introduce the organisation representatives who facilitate the case discussion. Every year participants claim they were happy to dig in to this interactive portion of the Forum. When you register, select a 1st, 2nd and 3rd preference breakout session from the selection below.

ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund (AASIF)

Hanna Zwietering, Investment Manager

Moderated by RSM Lecturer Gianfranco Gianfrante

Through the ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund (AASIF), the ABN AMRO bank invests its own money in social and sustainable enterprises that aim to bring about real social change. Making direct investments from €500,000 to €1.5 million, the bank helps to develop the social enterprise market.

AASIF is not only interested in the financial return it can generate but also the social return on its investments. But assessing these social returns is difficult, and there is no widely accepted framework for this.

In this breakout session, you will be challenged to think about qualitative and quantitative measurements of a firm’s social impact. You will also learn how managers at AASIF make decisions regarding the trade-off between financial and social returns when investing in their portfolio companies.


Annemieke Beekmans, Executive Director

Moderated by RSM Associate Professor Frank Wijen

Aidenvironment is a values-driven consultancy based in the Netherlands and Indonesia providing services and research on sustainable production and trade. It creates social, environmental and economic value seeking a fair distribution across stakeholders. Aidenvironment’s consultants combine in-depth sector and issue knowledge with strategic thinking at systemic level and a thorough understanding of multi-stakeholder processes. They have experience in many of the key agricultural, forestry, fishery and mining sub-sectors in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Their strength is diversity in expertise: field and market intelligence, assessment, review, and evaluations tools and methods.

Many of the mid-sized consultancy companies in the realm of sustainable business, including Aidenvironment, have faced major challenges to survive and thrive in highly competitive markets. Although Aidenvironment is highly active and is well known in its field, its relatively smaller size requires it to constantly understand shifts in the industry and upcoming trends in the sustainability consulting market. Aidenvironment wonders how to position its products and markets in this dynamic and competitive landscape.

Key question: Should it extend its present activities, which are concentrated in Asia, to other geographic areas such as Africa, or embark on new types of consultancy services. Participants will engage in discussion and offer ideas to drive Aidenvironment's strategic positioning. 

ASN Bank

Roel Nozeman, Senior Advisor Biodiversity

Emiel van Zwet, Account Manager for Financing Renewable Energy Projects

Moderated by RSM Assistant Professor Guido Berens 

ASN Bank aims to drive sustainability in the financial world by only investing in responsible businesses and projects that contribute to a sustainable society such as wind energy, solar energy and social housing. Many of these projects help to combat climate change: generating renewable energy or conserving energy.

ASN’s start-up accelerator Voor de Wereld van Morgen (For the World of Tomorrow) supports projects that play a social, sustainable or cultural role. The accelerator has supported 595 start-ups including Fairphone, an ethically produced smartphone; and Seepje, which makes plant-based washing and cleaning products.

In this breakout session, you will work with two ASN Bank representatives who are responsible for the sustainable investment portfolio of the bank. By keeping in mind the challenge to achieve systemic change, you can actively think about future projects that help ASN achieve its climate neutral goal and its goal on biodiversity. Questions that will come up include:

• How can ASN Bank ensure that all its activities will result in no (net) loss of biodiversity?

• What is the next action point for ASN’s investment portfolio? 

a.s.r. vermogensbeheer

Jos Gijsbers, Senior Portfolio Manager

Raquel Criado Larrea, Senior Portfolio Manager

Moderated by RSM Associate Professor Irma Bogenrieder

The investment industry is in a transition phase. There has been a major shift in investments towards sustainability, and impact investments. a.s.r. vermogensbeheer manages a € 55 billion investment fund, and all investments are tested on the basis of the socially responsible investment (SRI) framework and a.s.r engages with all stakeholders to achieve the highest possible return for society in the long term.

a.s.r. is looking into new ways to make a difference on a global level. As asset managers, they are capable of pooling significant financial assets. But not all of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be targeted with investments in the same way.

In this breakout session, you can help analyse these ways for a.s.r. and investment fund participants to maximise their positive impact worldwide.

EY & Robeco

Valerie Sydry, Assurance Professional, EY

Guido Moret, Active Ownership Specialist, Robeco

Moderated by RSM Associate Professor Steve Kennedy

When incentives only reward short-term behaviour, capital markets are weaker, society is poorer and the environment suffers. Due to frameworks of integrated reporting (IR), business and investors now recognise a broader approach to creating value. So how can finance facilitate and achieve sustainability goals?

EY aims to build a better working world – with sustainable growth, development of talent, and greater collaboration. EY offers advisory, assurance, tax, growth markets, transactions and global specialty services.

Robeco is an international asset manager offering an extensive range of active investments, from equities to bonds. It strongly believes in sustainability investing, quantitative techniques and constant innovation.

In this breakout session participants are firstly introduced to IR and the benefits of firms to produce an integrated report. The session will then enter into a world café style setting whereby participants will circulate between three discussion tables on key questions of IR. Finally, the results of each discussion table shall be presented back to the group and shortly discussed.

Gemeente Rotterdam

Ard den Outer, Strategic Advisor

Moderated by RSM Associate Professor Maciej Szymanowski

The City of Rotterdam’s sustainability programme works on a healthy and future-proof Rotterdam. This includes healthier air, more green space, dry feet, sustainable buildings, cleaner energy at lower costs and more jobs in the city, port and industry.

For this breakout session, a City of Rotterdam sustainable development team will outline the status of its preparation to transform all of the city’s 572 elementary school buildings into sustainable buildings. You will discuss several options for a finance model and sufficient cash-flow from multiple contributors, as well as the preferred approach. You will also learn more about how governmental organisations operate and what they do regarding sustainable development.

Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)

Jordania Valentim, Partnerships Manager

Herbert Smorenburg, Senior Manager Netherlands Office

Moderated by Eva Rood

Malnutrition – both undernutrition and overweight – contribute to early deaths for mothers, infants and young children, and impaired physical and brain development in the young. Business partnerships are key to finding and implementing change to sustainably and systematically address these challenges.

The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is driven to fight malnutrition through partnerships with public and private sectors. In this session, you can use your business knowledge to help find solutions for a food systems challenge. In the case, you act as a business development manager for the ingredients division of an international dairy cooperation. The Ethiopian government has asked your company’s help to improve the local dairy sector, starting with a dairy programme at schools. The senior vice-president of the ingredients division has asked you to come up with a plan. You have two hours to develop your proposal in a presentation.

Next Nature Network

Lewis Just, Post-Disciplinary Designer

Moderated by Jamie Malorni

The ECO coin, by Next Nature Network, is a digital currency that rewards people who actively contribute to a more sustainable world – on a community or global level. More than 60,000 people at various organisations so far have earned ECOs by carrying out sustainable actions, and could spend this hard-earned money on green products. Next Nature Network aims to keep growing and testing the ECO coin, eventually aiming to turn it into a crypto-currency running on a sustainable block chain to help us all to balance our economy and ecology.

ECO coin is building on the experiences of all their living labs, and challenges participants to focus on new opportunities where the ECO coin could be integrated and run at Erasmus University Rotterdam in a financially sustainable way. This contains several challenges:

1. Governance: who will set up and run the currency? How will the governance structure work? How will value and ECO prices be set?

2. Partnerships and sponsorships: who are the key stakeholders to work with? What is their value propositions for getting involved?

3. Funding: are there viable business models that can financially support the ECO coin over a longer period of time? How much money would you need invested to kick-start this currency campus-wide? 

Peterson & Control Union

Werner Euler, Managing Director 

Moderated by RSM Professor Finn Wynstra

Peterson and Control Union is a family-owned, non-listed company with a long-term vision and a global network of independent service companies offering sustainable development services. It has been in operation for nearly 100 years in the field of logistics, quality, certifications and risk management, and is active in more than 70 countries and employs 4,000 people. The organisation’s knowledge and experience cover all aspects of the supply chain in industries including agriculture, energy, forestry, and textiles.

This breakout session, led by managing director Werner Euler, looks into the cotton industry, but the principle of the business case could easily be applicable to other agricultural industries. Cotton is produced globally, processed in the East, and traded as final product to end-consumers in the West. The new 'conscious consumer' struggles to obtain sustainability details about the products, and traders and producers find it hard to obtain suppliers of materials that comply with these demands.

Using the organisation’s insight in the geographical origins, production methods, sustainability characteristics and trading routes, you will help construct a business case on an example product. For this you’ll look for answers to: How can we beneficiate this knowledge? What technologies can we apply in our business? How could it strengthen our business? You can think about block chain, geo-satellite imaging and drones, datamining and data verification.

True Price

Reinier de Adelhart Toorop, Project Manager

Moderated by RSM Lecturer Thijs Geradts

Social enterprise True Price devises open-source methodologies to measure the sustainability of products and services across value chains. It helps organisations quantify, value, and improve their impact on society. True Price assists multinationals, SMEs, NGOs and governmental organisations with risk management and strategic decision-making by providing insights into their impact and their associated risks and opportunities.

In this breakout session, you will step in the shoes of True Price employees and work on an assignment for a Dutch multinational company that aims to invest in a new international project. Four investments are proposed with different costs of capital, environment and financial profitability. By using some of True Price’s methodologies, you can determine the societal costs and benefits of the project and which investment creates the most shared value.