Meet the new board member: Andrea van Dijk from Invest-NL

Invest-NL is a Dutch government-owned venture capital, impact investment firm that finances innovative scale-ups looking to transition to a low-carbon economy or develop innovative technology.

Andrea van Dijk, the new board member of Global Compact Network Netherlands, is the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Officer at Invest-NL. Van Dijk, alongside the Invest-NL impact engineer, works on developing ESG and impact investment policies, measurable frameworks, and KPIs for every investment.

Invest-NL and their sustainability journey

Invest-NL’s most significant impact is through their investments. Every investment has a clear impact rationale that is measurable and reportable. Therefore, SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 13 – Climate Action links to Invest-NL’s carbon neutrality and circular economy objectives.

“While our impact investment agenda clearly links to the SDGS, our ESG process refers more to the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles. We want to focus on doing things the right way. Once we decide that something is a suitable impact investment, and this investment clearly contributes to our transition towards a carbon-neutral economy, we encourage the investee company to implement sustainability principles at all company levels.

Andrea van Dijk

Andrea van Dijk

Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Officer, Invest-NL

Invest-NL invests in small to medium enterprises with very ambitious growth plans. Van Dijk’s role is to ensure all those growth plans have a sustainability agenda. By joining Global Compact Network Netherlands’ board, van Dijk hopes to get an in-depth overview of the various initiatives for SMEs that want to contribute to sustainable development but might not have the means to do so.

For example, an innovative battery technology that replaces critical materials. We want to ensure that the people creating those batteries work under safe labour conditions. e manage that investment’s environmental, social, and governance risk factors by asking the right questions and encouraging them to professionalise their sustainability management.”

Van Dijk explains that creating diversity within investment teams is an important priority for Invest-NL’s own sustainability journey. There is a clear willingness to promote more diversity in investment teams. However, there is still a practical challenge where there is not enough diversity within the pool of potential new colleagues. Invest-NL seeks to provide solutions for these challenges through bias training during the recruitment process and by being more open to recruiting talent from different sectors or industries – focusing less on past investment experience.

Van Dijks sustainability journey

Van Dijk strives to promote gender equality in her day-to-day life. With her three daughters in mind, she hopes they enter a world without biases– something van Dijk acknowledges may be a bit of a “dream.”

“I hope my daughters will not encounter the same biases I have experienced. As a woman in the financial industry, I have been luckier than most. I cannot say the same about bigger corporations or politics where men mostly run the show. Therefore, as a parent, I educate my children on this topic and strive to break gender roles or stereotypes they may get from others.”

“Don’t lose hope… Look for an ally.”

Van Dijk advises young professionals, “Do not lose hope and continue speaking up. If you are speaking up from a perspective of hope, it is much more powerful than speaking out of despair– although sometimes it can be the feeling behind it. Look for allies. Sometimes grey-haired, fifty-plus men can be allies. Don’t fear.”