On the 16th of June 2022 ArcelorMittal Belgium, together with other companies, was being honoured in the botanical garden of Ghent University. Because those who work on sustainability should also get the recognition for it, they think at Voka East Flanders. No question of greenwashing: all the companies successfully completed an action plan for more sustainable business management and therefore deserve the Voka Charter for Sustainable Business.

The number of companies taking up sustainability as a social challenge is increasing strongly. Less CO2, investing in circular economy, investing in innovation and green energy: these are just a few examples of the efforts made by the laureates of the Voka Charter for Sustainable Business. From ArcelorMittal to small SMEs: companies prove that you can put sustainability into practice and that you can be ambitious in this respect. This year, no less than 74 companies will be awarded the Charter. An enormous increase compared to last year’s 54 laureates. Yet another proof that sustainable business is gaining in importance.

Sustainability is a strategic choice

“Anyone who does not commit to sustainability today is missing the boat,” states Geert Moerman, managing director of Voka East Flanders. “Sustainable business is about anticipating challenges and responding to opportunities. Anyone who wants to build a successful company for the long term knows that sustainability is a strategic choice. In recent years we have seen a strengthening of the social debate, the European Union is fully drawing the sustainable card with the Green Deal and investors are also looking for projects that are future-proof. It ensures that sustainability is on the table in all ambitious companies.”

Innovations propel companies forward

A lot of participants can show off strong innovations to make their sustainability concrete. From the generation of green energy to the recovery of residual heat and the reuse of waste water: every company is doing its very best to systematically eliminate their potential negative impact on the environment.

But mountains of work have also been done in the area of social sustainability. Creating a sustainable place to work is at the top of the action plan for many companies. After all, companies that invest in their employees, diversity and inclusion have an edge in today’s competitive labor market.

Inspiration from Upgrade Estate and House of Lux

Nele Van Damme, elected Sustainability Professional 2022 and co-CEO of Upgrade Estate, motivates her fellow laureates along with her co-CEO Koenraad Belsack: “When it comes to sustainability, you can never be ambitious enough as a company.”

The drag collective House of Lux then awards the certificates. Diversity and inclusion a part of sustainability? Absolutely.