Creating a culture to become the most sustainable organization in the energy business in the Netherlands

About Essent
The client challenge

Founded in 1999, Essent NV is an energy company acquired in 2016 by the German energy group Innogy, that since September 2019 is part of E.ON.

It supplies electricity and gas to private and business customers in the Netherlands and Belgium.

The client challenge

In the context of the changes that Essent was facing, both with the merger/acquisition, as well as with the growing market pressure, we were asked to set up a pilot of a Sustainability Scan. This scan aimed to measure four main areas of sustainability: stakeholder’s demand, leadership competence, organizational culture and benchmarks with competition. Based on the responses, this assessment gave Essent’s leadership an idea of the organizational capability of dealing with its complex environment and provided an overview about present and future’s key issues to be resolved to become more sustainable.

Our approach to Sustainability


Individual and Organizational Dilemmas: conflicting demands of Essent’s stakeholders create dilemmas. We assessed how well Essent was in reconciling these dilemmas, where the priorities were and what needed to be done to achieve reconciliation where necessary, in the following main areas.

  • Leadership Competence: we ran a competence Scan of Essent’s leadership to validate the effectiveness of the top management in dealing with the stakeholder’s dilemmas;
  • Organizational Culture: we checked the ability of Essent’s culture to support an environment that facilitates the resolution of these dilemmas;
  • Benchmark: we asked participants to assess Essent’s sustainability in comparison to its competitors.


We organized meetings where all stakeholders (clients, employees, management, political representatives and shareholders) were stating their challenges and solutions for being successful in this environment. This allowed us to cross-validate the dilemmas between the stakeholders, by fostering a higher sense of respect.


In the third phase we organized a few cross-stakeholder workshops to reconcile the dilemmas between them. We ended with a series of actions points with clear responsibilities and authority for execution.


On the basis of the results we organized several leadership development programs to enhance the competence in Essent to deal with dilemmas. This was supported by managing cultural change process introducing new values for the organization and how to live them, finally we set-up a monitoring system to measure progress.