The interest in sustainable business is on the rise. Voka – Chamber of Commerce Limburg helps Limburg entrepreneurs to take advantage of this momentum and to accelerate the implementation of sustainability in their business operations. “Registrations for our Voka Charter Sustainable Entrepreneurship guidance programme peaked this year to 50 participating companies,” reports Cathérine Dreesen, director of internationalization and innovation at Voka – Chamber of Commerce Limburg.

Recent research by Professor Pieter Vandekerkhof and researcher Maarten Colson of UHasselt shows that entrepreneurs are not putting sustainability on hold because of the current covid19 crisis. No less than 52 % say that they are planning to do more sustainable business in the future. In the traditional sectors such as industry and construction, the proportion is even higher, reaching 75% and 62% respectively.

Catherine Dreesen: “Entrepreneurs are clearly aware of the social need as well as the economic potential of making their business more sustainable. Now we need to accelerate to pick a lead on our neighbouring countries. It is no coincidence that sustainability is one of the spearheads in the Plan Growing Together  of Voka – Chamber of Commerce Limburg.”

Voka Charter for Sustainable Entrepreneurship

The 50 companies participating in the Voka Charter Sustainable Entrepreneurship (VCSE) do not hesitate to put these ambitions into practice. They commit to respecting the 17 sustainable development goals set out by the United Nations and to translating them into concrete action points in their company.

“Never before have we had so many participants. In 2019, 31 companies participated, last year 43 and now we have 50 participants.  Companies that successfully complete at least 10 action points will receive a VCSE certificate. Those who complete 3 successful VCSE programmes will receive through us the official Pioneer Certificate issued by the United Nations”, explains Cathérine Dreesen.

“More action points completed than envisaged”

Tent manufacturer Veldeman Group from Bree decided in July 2020 to join the VCSE programme. To them the programme was a tool to further develop their sustainability objectives in the long term.

CEO Andy Moors: “We also work in the events sector. Therefore the covid19 crisis hit us really hard in the same period. As a result we were obliged to make plans to cut our costs heavily. Nevertheless, we have not abandoned the planned investments in sustainability and used the free time that came available to our employees to work on projects related to sustainability. Despite covid19, we have thus been able to complete more action points than we originally planned. A few more actions are still to follow in the coming years. However, if corona has taught us anything at all, it is that no challenge is too big.”

Some of the actions taken by Veldeman Group: LED lighting was installed in the production halls, the cleaning machines now only use rainwater (a saving of 40,000 litres a year), and the presses were optimised for a lower energy consumption. And what about the employees? For them, homeworking was implemented faster than initially planned.

Press communication: Voka Limburg

Media: TV Limburg

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