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The George Molenkamp Sustainability Thesis Award is a collaborative initiative between KPMG and Amsterdam Business School and has been awarded annually since 2017.

The award is in honour of Dr George Molenkamp, a pioneer in business sustainability. Dr. Molenkamp is a former Partner and Chairman of KPMG Sustainability Services and he was instrumental in developing the field of environmental and sustainability management and auditing. He has also served as a professor at the University of Amsterdam, among many other positions of responsibility he has held in society and business. The George Molenkamp Sustainability Thesis award includes a €1,000 prize sponsored by KPMG.

Tessa Kraak: Winner of the George Molenkamp Sustainability Thesis Award 2023

Master Business Administration alumnus Tessa Kraak has won the George Molenkamp Sustainability Thesis award 2023. The award was presented jointly by KPMG and the ABS for the 7th time during UvA in DeLaMar on Friday 22 September.

From left to right: Mark van der Veen, Taghi Ramezan Zadeh, Domenico Mannino, George Molenkamp, Jerwin Tholen, Timo Bom representing Tessa Kraak, Mark Purda representing Aitana Postinett Gutiérrez

Kraak investigated the relationship between gender diversity in the top management team (TMT) and performance within the company. She discovered, among other things, that gender diversity within TMTs has a positive influence on attention to sustainability and digitalization within the organization.

Arno Kourula, professor of Business & Sustainability at the ABS and coordinator of the award committee: 'This thesis gives us all kinds of new important insights into the field of sustainability. Kraak's research has a solid theoretical basis and at the same time provides practically applicable knowledge about the link between diversity, sustainability and digitalization. An exemplary thesis!'

Tessa’s thesis Green and Digital Attention as Mediators between Top Management Team Characteristics and Firm Performance: A Moderated Mediation Framework was supervised by Dr. Taghi Ramezan Zadeh. In addition to the award, the winner also receives a €1,000 prize sponsored by KPMG. With her thesis, Kraak has obtained her masters in Business Administration (specialisation Digital Business).

The award committee consisted of Bernd Hendriksen (sustainability entrepreneur and lecturer at the ABS), Renad Mangoud (Central Student Council, EB delegate and treasurer), and Jerwin Tholen (Partner Sustainability, KPMG).

In addition to Tessa Kraak, 2 other finalists were considered for the award: Domenico Mannino (Impact Investors’ Decision-making Across Different Stages of Investment: An Explorative Investigation on Early-stage and Late-stage Impact Investors’ Pre-selection Investment Criteria, supervised by Ciro Esposito) and Aitana Postinett Gutiérrez (Illusion of Goal Progress: The Study of a New Mechanism Underlying the Licensing Effect and an Intervention Based on Progress Framing to Mitigate It, supervised by Dr. Carina Thuerridl).

  • Prior winners of the George Molenkamp Sustainability Thesis Award

    Winner 2022
    Natalya Camilla Apopo: "The covert role of accounting professionals in a jurisdictional expansion project” (Supervisor Prof.dr: Brendan O’ Dwyer).

    Winner 2021
    Willem Grefkens: "Beauty and the Battered: How Aesthetic Appeal Influences Pro-Environmental Behaviour" (Supervisor: Dr. Carina Thuerridl).

    Finalists 2021
    Laura Ghitoi: "Refashioning the Fashion Industry: The Growing Digital Aftermarket and the Circularity within the Resale Revolution" (Supervisor: Dr. Aldo do Carmo)

    Mana Reed Stutchbury: "Racial Diversity in Brand Communications – The Effect of Racial Diversity on Intention To Engage And Engagement Valence on Social Media: The Role of Self-Referencing" (Supervisor: Dr. Sadaf Mokarram Dorri)

    Winner 2020
    Giulia Casamatti: “The Impact of Green Sustainability Strategies and Women Management Role on Corporate Financial Performance: the Italian Wine Industry (2019). Supervisor: Dr. Federica Nieri.

    Finalists 2020
    Kathelin Doornhof: “The Effects of Family Ownership on CSR Adoption: The Moderating Role of CSIR Involvement and Internationalization (Supervisor: Dr. Federica Nieri)

    Josefin Pellinger: “Living Online: What’s the Price We’re Willing to Pay? (Supervisor: Dr. Andrea Weihrauch).

    Winner 2019
    Willem Davies: ”Legitimacy management within the international business environment: do EM-MNEs adopt a dual strategy as they try to overcome their liability of origin?” (Supervisor: Dr. Federica Nieri).

    Finalists 2019
    Bart Verkaaik: ”The transition of financial audit professionals into sustainability audit professionals: The case of sustainability assurance in a Big 4 firm” (Supervisor: Prof. Brendan O’Dwyer).

    Tessa Werter: ”Does a firm’s corporate governance structure affect their corporate goodness?” (Supervisor: Dr. Ilir Haxhi).

    Winner 2018
    Maren Heumann: ”Organisational justice as a mediator of the relationship between stakeholder culture and organisational citizenship behaviour” (Supervisor: Dr. Flore Bridoux).

    Finalists 2018
    Aviv de Poel: ”Corporate political activity through social responsibility” (Supervisor: Dr. Ilir Haxhi).

    Christian August Stang: ”Examining the income-SWB satiation point, and the potential moderating effect of income inequality” (Supervisor: Dr. Richard Ronay).

    Winner 2017
    Suzan van Eijden: ”The roles of governments and NGOs in the resolution of conflicts between indigenous communities and MNEs” (Supervisor: Dr. Ilir Haxhi).

    Finalists 2017
    Robin Britt Danielle Bouma: ”The influence of core-stigma on corporate social responsibility reporting” (Supervisor: Dr. Hesam Fasaei).

    Cathelijn Lotte Raaijmakers: ”Internal and external environmental influences of sustainable international new venture internationalisation” (Supervisor: Dr. Johan Lindeque).

  • Selection process and award committee

    n terms of the selection process, thesis supervisors nominate candidates which are judged for their contributions to sustainability, overall quality, practical relevance, and level of ambition. Prior award committee members have included Christof Bischofberger (Faculty Student Council, FEB/UvA), Sofiya Koba (Faculty Student Council, FEB/UvA), Berke Cavusoglu (Faculty Student Council, FEB/UvA), Arjan de Draaijer (Managing Partner, KPMG Sustainability), Bernd Hendriksen (Lecturer, Amsterdam Business School and sustainability entrepreneur), Arno Kourula (Associate Professor, Amsterdam Business School), Jolande Sap (Supervisory Board, KPMG), and Melissa Wijngaarden (Faculty Student Council, FEB/UvA).

Further information

For more information about the theses or the award, please contact Arno Kourula: