Mr. Feike Sijbesma, CEO and Managing Board Chairman of Royal DSM, the global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, received an honorary doctorate from the University of Maastricht on the occasion of the university’s 37th Dies Natalis celebration on 14 January.
The theme of this year’s celebration was ‘Inviting Excellence’. One of the core elements of the university’s strategy is the development of a network in Limburg, the Netherlands and beyond. In this context five outstanding individuals were nominated by each faculty or the Executive Board, and awarded an honorary doctorate.
The University’s Board of Governors nominated Mr. Sijbesma in recognition of the way DSM is dealing with sustainability not only as a a core value and a responsibility but increasingly also as its main business driver. Mr. Sijbesma advocates the importance of long term sustainability for global business.
“DSM’s operations integrate all aspects of sustainability. The company is involved in initiatives to fight climate change and develop alternative energy sources as well as in programmes to promote global food and nutrition security. It has headed the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index many times and is a partner of the United Nations’ World Food Programme.
Mr. Sijbesma is strongly promoting the sustainability agenda, for example as chairman of the World Economic Forum’s global agenda council on the role of business. On the integration of sustainability aspects he has been quoted as saying: ‘There is no contradiction or dilemma between shareholders and stakeholders. DSM is creating value for all stakeholders along the three dimensions of people, planet and profit. We have a long term commitment and work for people today and generations to come. We have an unwavering commitment to innovation, even in crisis times. These are our core values, since we cannot be successful, nor even call ourselves successful, in a world that fails.'”
According to Maastricht University’s Board of Governors, these values coincide well with those of the university. In particular, the university shares DSM’s concern for the next generations, both nationally and internationally.
Mr Feike Sijbesma on Innovation
The other four honorary doctorates were awarded to Paul Crutzen, who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1995 for his research on ozone depletion; Fred Gage, a prominent neuroscientist best known for his work on neural tissue transplants; Mohammad Hashem Pesaran, one of the world’s foremost experts on econometrics; and Trevor Pinch, who is widely known for his research on musical technologies.