Our Impact Programme
We strongly believe in giving back to the communities in which we live and work, and community engagement matters to our colleagues. We are committed to supporting and encouraging all at NautaDutilh to contribute their time, talent, and expertise to create a positive impact on the lives of others. Our collective action also helps to strengthen the ties between colleagues. It is how we bring into practice our CSR mission to empower the next generation.
Our people give back in various ways, from pro bono work for non-profit organisations and mentoring underrepresented young people to collecting for the foodbanks. In 2021, several lawyers volunteered at Vluchtelingenwerk, the Dutch Refugee Council, as part of a CSR Sabbatical. Others organised a step contest to raise funds for Think Pink. We donated mobile phones that were no longer in use within our firm to charities advancing access to education. To further accelerate and amplify our impact, we have launched the NautaDutilh Impact Programme.
Aiming for more impact
The NautaDutilh Impact Programme is an umbrella for all our pro bono and CSR activities. We focus on education, (gender) equality, climate action, and access to justice, linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4, 5, 13 and 16.
Through the Impact Programme, we encourage everyone at NautaDutilh, both legal professionals and business support professionals and at all offices, to participate in our existing community and pro bono initiatives and to develop their own CSR projects. We are convinced that the NautaDutilh Impact Programme will also be instrumental in furthering cooperation across offices and teams on CSR themes, and that it will lead to greater participation of our legal professionals in pro bono work. We provide everyone at our firm with four Impact Days per year to spend on community engagement, volunteering, or pro bono work. This amounts to 18,000 Impact Hours per year (which count towards billable targets). While participation in our Impact Programme is voluntary, we actively support and promote it, including by an introductory engagement campaign in 2022.
Impact focus: access to education (SDG 4)
Empowering the Next Generation starts with access to quality education. In our CSR Committee, the SDG 4 Working Group develops projects and partnerships that contribute to empowering children from underprivileged backgrounds and neighbourhoods
in Amsterdam and Rotterdam to determine their own career path rather than being defined by their socio- economic status. We have long-standing partnerships with IMC Weekendschool Rotterdam and JINC Amsterdam and Rotterdam. In 2021, we organised
a four-day law course for children aged 10 to 14 participating in the IMC Weekendschool, a three-year Sunday school programme. Projects with JINC included mini-internships about the legal profession at primary schools and career-coaching sessions for children at secondary schools.
One of the 2021 highlights was welcoming the Bazen van Morgen, ‘bosses of tomorrow’, as part of a JINC initiative. Three primary school kids took over the jobs of our managing partners and interviewed colleagues about the importance of equal opportunities in the workplace. Colleagues from our Brussels office mentor university students from underprivileged backgrounds in the ‘Bright Future’ mentoring programme organised by Be.Face, a Belgian network of companies. The goal is to prepare these students for entry to the workforce and improve their prospects for employment suitable to their education level.
Access to education requires access to technology. This became even more obvious during the pandemic, as schools shifted to distanced education during lockdowns. To help promote equitable access to technology, we became a partner of the Dutch initiative #allemaaldigitaal. They collect used laptops and tablets from businesses, restore them, and supply them to families in need.
In the field of sustainability, we contributed to the Chancery Lane Project in London, a collaborative effort of international legal professionals who create new practical contractual clauses on climate issues. Our Brussels office advised two Belgian start-ups in fashion about setting up a sustainable business.
In the cultural sector, we provided pro bono legal assistance to Stichting Strijkkwartet Biënnale Amsterdam, the foundation that organises the largest string quartet festival in the world, and to the Vereniging Rembrandt, the Dutch society of art patrons that provides funds to Dutch museums to acquire notable works of art.
We continued our partnerships with Dutch pro bono clearinghouse Pro Bono Connect and the global pro bono programme, TrustLaw. In addition, we started new pro bono partnerships in 2021, with MVO Nederland, a network of sustainable entrepreneurs, and with the non-profit Sustainable Students Consultancy. In Luxembourg, we extended our collaboration with the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and the House of Entrepreneurship, which started in 2020 on Covid-related matters, to assist SMEs with debt recovery, employment, and administrative legal advice and to contribute to free and practical legal workshops to help and guide
Part of our commitment to SDG 16 is our partnership with Lawyers for Lawyers, a non-profit organisation that defends lawyers whose right to practice is under threat. Our lawyers volunteer for the group, and we hosted an online lunch session with one of the lawyers it supports, who shared their story and the human rights situation in their home country.
Internally, we streamlined our CSR work and procedures. We formulated four SDG working groups within our CSR Committee based on the focus SDGs of our CSR policy: SDG 4 Quality Education, SDG 5 Gender Equality, SDG 13 Climate Action, and SDG 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. These working groups develop and coordinate CSR projects and increase engagement to amplify our impact. We also focused on enhancing cooperation on CSR themes between offices and teams, and for instance started CSR projects across offices (see also ‘Our operations’, p. 36).
We leave room in our CSR policy for initiatives outside our focus SDGs. In Brussels, we organised a ‘Move for Think Pink’ step contest to raise funds during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We organised a Luxembourg Red Cross toy collection for underprivileged families and children at Christmas. In our New York office, we organised a virtual, participation-based photo collection event instead of our annual client event, which was proscribed by the pandemic. For each photo submitted, we donated to the High Line Sustainable Gardens of NYC, a charity that endeavours to increase the green areas throughout New York City. Colleagues also initiated a food collection initiative for local foodbanks from our Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and London offices.
Our ambition for 2021 and our progress in 2021