Together with our employees, we have made numerous efforts in recent years to try to reduce the potential nuisance and negative impact of our activities on the environment and ecosystems insofar as is possible. For example, we are committed to the optimal use and management of natural resources, materials, financial resources and construction talent. Respect for the environment is of the utmost important to us, and we want to analyse, assess, and manage the environmental risks connected to our activities. Our end goal is to build in a climate-neutral manner, without any negative consequences for ecosystems.
From SDG Pioneer to SDG Champion
Our board has undertaken to continuously improve its environmental care programme in accordance with ISO 14001, the CO2 Performance Ladder, and the VOKA Sustainable Entrepreneurship Charter. In 2017, our Group was one of the first Belgian companies to sign the United Nations SGD charter. Three years later, in 2020, we obtained the UNITAR ‘SDG Pioneer’ certificate. This is a distinction we’re very proud of, but our ambitions stretch much further. That’s why we started the SDG Champion track in 2021. This goes one step further than SDG Pioneer.
Our commitment to sustainability mainly focuses on:
- CO2 reduction
- Waste policy
- Water management
- Cooperation and knowledge-sharing
Construction project clients are making increasingly more demands in terms of sustainability – and rightly so. Identifying the carbon footprint is one of them. As one of the largest family construction groups in Belgium, we consider it our duty to contribute to a sustainable world. That’s why we calculate our carbon footprint on an annual basis, so we can set objectives that are in line with the European Green Deal.
Our fleet comprises a total of 1,413 vehicles. We have developed a strategy and plans to ensure our fleet becomes more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly. Electric pool cars, an extensive network of charging stations, and our annual participation in Mobility Week are just a few examples.
“Waste is material in the hands of the wrong person.” Our supply of natural resources is finite, and material supply chains are still currently under huge pressure. Waste also has a particularly major impact on the environment. We apply a waste prevention policy in line with the principles of Lansink’s Ladder, alongside sustainable management and efficient (re)use of natural resources. That way, we are helping facilitate the transition towards a circular economy.
We donate obsolete IT material to Out of Use, which in turn donates part of the value to Natuurpunt for the annual national tree planting campaign in the context of ‘Bos voor Iedereen’ (Forest for Everyone). Two needs with one deed: because this way, we not only ensure that our old IT material is reused or recycled, but we also make an important contribution to a cleaner environment.
We are taking up our responsibility in improving groundwater levels in Belgium. We are doing so through initiatives on dewatering, as well as through innovative product developments that reduce the negative impact of surfacing on groundwater. Drainphalt® is one such example. This development by Willemen Infra and product of our innovation contest is an open asphalt surface that allows rainwater to drain directly into the soil or temporarily buffers it inside the asphalt surface. The rapid drainage of rainwater renders sewer systems, water trenches, discharge grids, buffer basins, and ditches redundant. In other words, Drainphalt® allows for significant space savings on location and provides a concrete solution to persistently falling groundwater levels.
But we also want to make a difference outside the company walls. That’s why we support ‘Join for Water’. Thanks to this NGO, tens of thousands of people gain access to sustainable solutions for drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, or water for agriculture every year. We provided very concrete support for a project in Ituri (East Congo) through Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs (OVO).
COOPERATION AND KNOWLEDGE-SHARING
Together, we achieve more. We are involved in various of sector-wide initiatives, and we are strongly committed to knowledge-sharing. Together with a large number of other companies, we are taking part in the VOKA Charter Sustainable Entrepreneurship, a multi-year journey on which companies learn from one another and from specialists how they can make their business operations more sustainable. We are also members of WaterstofNet, The Shift, and Flux50.