We have a collective responsibility for a long list of forest fires, hurricanes, floods and droughts that are more frequent and more severe than decades ago due to the heating up of the atmosphere and which cause mass suffering. Moreover, climate change can exacerbate other challenges, such as increasing inequality, the growing conflicts and insecurity, the depletion of natural resources, and the threat to vulnerable ecosystems. There is no alibi that exonerates us as human beings from the impact we ourselves are causing. There is only one solution: living differently and doing business in a socially responsible manner and also sustainably. With respect for everyone’s well-being and for the limits of our planet.
In the very beginning, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) amounted to philanthropy. Over the years, the content has been expanded several times: from “nice to have” to “licence to operate” to “shared value”. Today, profit is no longer the unique indicator of a company’s performance. The way in which we as a company tackle social and environmental challenges also counts. Today, this “shared value” is an integral part of BDO's business strategy and becomes unmistakably tangible in every fibre of our DNA. The transition to a new and more sustainable development model is a structural challenge that we, as a responsible company, take on for ourselves, for our customers and for society. With as a common thread the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.
Fundamentally, sustainability evolves into a personal narrative that we collectively bear and convey. Inspired and enthusiastically driven by a sustainability team of employees, ambassadors and working groups from all areas of expertise at all levels, who simultaneously monitor the objectives and guide the initiatives. In its actions, sustainability reinforces the positive impact of our company and reduces our negative footprint. And what initially feels like a limitation often ultimately translates into market opportunities that we invariably test against three factors: environment, social and governance. In this way, we are disrupting the traditional business model in a positive way, obliging ourselves to keep innovating and strengthening our employer brand.
Read our 2nd sustainability report and you will understand what we mean.
If you want to read the executive summary of our sustainability report you can read it here.
Sustainable September ‘22
September 2022 was all about sustainability at BDO! With all kinds of different communication, activities, and events to raise awareness and motivate our colleagues to adopt a sustainable way of thinking and working.
Because at BDO, we want to set an example, be a source of inspiration and act for a sustainable future.
Why is this important to us?
We realise the importance of finding the right balance between financial, social and environmental priorities.
We recognise the need to continually adapt our strategy, our service offering and the way we work to meet the sustainability expectations of all our stakeholders – our clients, our employees, our investors and our regulators - to protect our environment, our business and the interests of generations to come.
The transition to a new and more sustainable development model is a structural challenge that we, as a responsible company, take on for ourselves, our clients and society.
Our objective? Be a driver of change, initiate and accelerate the sustainable transition of economic players. Starting with ourselves, then turning to our clients. We walk the talk and are actively working on our transition.
What did we do during #Sustainable September?
- Regular communication related to our efforts on the ESG pillars: environment – social – governance, explaining our sustainability strategy, ambitions and actions that are already in place
- Sustainability roadshows to inform, and more importantly, involve our colleagues in making the transition happen.
- Town hall update on our ambitions for next year and our initiatives on the social pillar.
1. Sustainable Roadshows
As part of #SustainableSeptember, The sustainability ambassadors of BDO, colleagues from all practices and offices who support growing the sustainability movement, proudly presented the Sustainability Roadshow 2022. Over the course of September, they visited all of the offices to open the sustainability conversation with all of our colleagues to talk about CSR, ESG and sustainability and what actions BDO Belgium is taking
2. Plogging challenge
Inspired by a hobby of one of our Audit colleagues, Veerly Catry, all our colleagues got the challenge to gather as many kilograms of trash while walking or jogging – hence plogging. Because the more people we can encourage to participate and do their bit, the more we all contribute to a sustainable world. That's also what we as an organisation try to do with our ESG initiatives.
3. Equal Rights Run
Every year during the Memorial Van Damme, the Equal Rights Run takes place. A symbolic 100m sprint organised by Plan International Belgium and run by several Ambassadors to create awareness and attention to gender equality among children.
We at BDO Belgium are a proud Equal Rights Ambassador. By taking part, we are creating, together with Plan International, a world in which all children have equal opportunities. Because like them we think that sport is a way to put the debate on gender norms and equality more on the table. This event also took place during #SustainableSeptember and is perfectly in line with our other initiatives.
4. European Mobility week
Another event during #SustainableSeptember is European Mobility Week. A week where a lot of cities and organisations in Europe are raising extra awareness for sustainable urban mobility through various initiatives. At BDO, one of our engagements is to be a climate-neutral consultancy firm. In 2019, we received the CO2 neutral label and our ambitions are to continue this path among other things through our new Smart Mobility Policy.
Here are the three main takeaways of this policy:
• mobility solution tailored to employees’ personal needs
• alternative mobility solutions
• electric vehicles
As we’ve already raised awareness of the Environmental and Social aspects of the three ESG pillars, we also wanted to give some attention to what we are doing in terms of Governance during Sustainable September.
From the beginning to the end of the day, we are dedicated to the improvement and sustainability of our main economic drivers. We walk the talk and do not compromise our organisation’s values. We do this through governing bodies and by offering risk and quality management.
Besides that, as are slogan is ‘Let’s Grow Together’, we not only focus on achieving our own goals and objectives alone. Supporting organisations in reaching their goals and getting help from other organisations to create a sustainable future for our society is equally important.