Our Human Cities initiative

Launched in 2014, our Human Cities initiative is an active expression of our company purpose to create everyday essentials to make people’s lives more liveable and inspiring.

It’s our commitment to improving, energizing and regenerating urban communities across the world.

Care is in the DNA of our people and our company. We have a long history of giving back to the communities in which we operate. By combining our sense of care with our people, products and leadership in innovation, safety and sustainability, we are helping cities to meet the many challenges they face.

Our cities are growing. Around 50 percent of the world’s population currently lives in cities. This is expected to increase to nearly 70 percent by 2020.

One of the biggest challenges of our age will be how to keep our cities “human.” As neighborhoods, villages and towns meld into megacities, how do we preserve our sense of home, identity and happiness?

Thanks to Human Cities, many successful projects have already been completed. For example, the initiative has helped to revitalize favelas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as well as creating jobs for young people in the UK. It is also making sport more accessible to young people and helping to restore historic landmarks, such as Burkill Hall in Singapore and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

We believe we can achieve a lot on our own, but to drive larger scale change and respond to the huge challenges that cities face, we need to multiply our effect through partnerships. That’s why we’ve joined forces with organizations such as 100 Resilient Cities – pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation – the Cruyff Foundation and Monocle’s Quality of Life index.

More recently, we co-founded the Human Cities Coalition, which brings together a unique public-private partnership of similar-minded Dutch organizations from government, NGOs and business to focus on realizing UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities. This Coalition focuses on issues including land rights, public spaces, drinking water, sanitation, drainage, housing and healthcare facilities.