Posted on November 1, 2022
“The focus on sustainability is increasingly evident in Flemish companies. The strong figures from VCDO, Voka’s sustainability programme, prove this. Companies that want to stand out are following VCDO and going for an international recognition, awarded by the United Nations. Flemish pioneering companies show the way to their peers. Together, we are working towards a more sustainable world,” says Jan Geers, Director of Advocacy at Voka Oost-Vlaanderen.
New Pioneers and Champions
Flanders now has 65 new companies that may call themselves ‘SDG Pioneer’ or ‘SDG Champion’ in the field of sustainability. These companies set up actions around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs of the United Nations for several years.
A company that successfully works around the SDGs for three years may call itself an SDG Pioneer. Companies that subsequently focus on their core business and realise a pilot project around transition become SDG Champions.
The certificates are awarded by UNITAR, the United Nations training and education agency. During the award ceremony at the Africa Museum in Tervuren, 37 new SDG Pioneer and 28 new SDG Champion companies were honoured.
“Tackling climate change, working towards an inclusive society, and strengthening circular entrepreneurship are global challenges that can be tackled locally. The United Nations SDGs are therefore an ideal tool for companies to link their sustainability actions,” said Alex Mejia, director at UNITAR.
Champion laureate has the floor
“A global player like Jan De Nul has a big impact on society,” clarifies Isabelle Herteleer, CSR Coordinator at Jan De Nul Group. “We strive every day to reduce these impacts and create added value for society. The SDGs are an excellent compass for this. The recognition of SDG Champion is a confirmation that our approach pays off, but especially an appreciation of the numerous colleagues who implement our ambitions every day in their jobs.”
15,000 actions by VCDO participants
Under the umbrella of the Voka Charter Sustainable Business (VCDO), companies can work on sustainability at different levels. Since its launch in 2017, Voka has already guided more than 1,000 companies on their path to a more sustainable business. They have since carried out more than 15,000 actions to realise one of the SDGs in their business operations. Of the 330 companies participating this year, about 100 are located in East Flanders.
Voka is working with CIFAL Flanders, the local hub of UNITAR, the United Nations training institute, to award and guide the Pioneer certificates. This allows participating companies to receive UN recognition.