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Belgian companies take action in the transition…

March 26, 2021

Belgian companies take action in the transition to a circular and well-being economy

In these disruptive times, we need companies leading the way to a better post-COVID-19 world. That is why the AMS Sustainable Transformation Groups (ST Groups), launched two charters pooling companies working toward a circular economy and a well-being economy. On March 24, the founding companies signed the Circular Economy Commitment and/or the Good Work Goals charters during an online event and urged other companies to follow their lead.

Going back to business as usual is not an option

If we want to avoid another major crisis, we need to put the lessons learned from the coronavirus crisis into practice and build a better world. Thus, the Chair in Sustainable Transformation, an initiative by Antwerp Management School and the University of Antwerp and co-led by BASF, Port of Antwerp and Randstad Belgium, launched two Sustainable Transformation Groups (ST Groups), one focusing on the circular economy and one on the well-being economy.

The goal is to build a leading coalition of companies in Belgium that are committed to sustainable transformation. After all, sustainable transformation does not just happen overnight; it is a process asking for visionary leadership, courage, empathy and expertise. To support all companies, big or small, that are willing to lead sustainable transformation, both ST Groups have developed a charter, the Circular Economy Commitment and the Good Work Goals. Companies signing these charters, show the world that they are not only willing to imagine, but also to actually build a better post-COVID-19 world.

Both charters were launched on March 24, 2021 at an inspiring online event. A total of around 200 companies participated and were introduced to both themes through panels and best practices with the CEOs of the founding companies. The highlight of the event was the official signing of the charters.

Circular Economy Commitment

The Circular Economy Commitment aims to radically change resource consumption and ecosystem impacts, with a shift to renewable energy and resources, closing the loop on production and moving to a low carbon society. The Circular Economy Commitment was developed by BASF, Port of Antwerp, Dox Project designers and Brussels Airport within the ST Group Circular Economy.

"Today, more than ever, we need to take action to make the way we work more sustainable. Research and innovation, as well as knowledge sharing and co-creation with all partners in the ecosystem will be crucial to develop a greener, sustainable aviation. This has been the ambition of Brussels Airport for many years and this crisis is a golden opportunity to accelerate the necessary changes together with all our airport partners. Today we are taking a first concrete step together by signing this Circular Economy Commitment so as to embed the circular economy principle in the way we work and think", says Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company. For Jan Remeysen, CEO of BASF Antwerp, the objective is also clear: “We are committed to transform our linear processes into circular processes.” Not only large companies are joining, there is also a role for SMEs, says Inge Nuyens, CEO of Dox Project designers: "We find it important to participate as an SME and as a family business alongside very large players such as Port of Antwerp, BASF and Brussels Airport. In this way, we emphasize that an SME certainly also is of significance in the circular economy and that, based on our sustainable DNA, we can set an example for other entrepreneurs." "Together with local and international partners, Port of Antwerp, as the largest integrated chemical cluster in Europe, is taking the lead in the transition to a cleaner, climate-friendly world that relies on more renewable and circular raw materials. We are convinced that the Circular Economy Commitment will bring together partners from different sectors to achieve this ambition," adds Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO Port of Antwerp.

Good Work Goals

To find effective and scalable solutions to global challenges, the economy needs to prioritize and take care of the people who work to create economic value. The Good Work Goals aim to foster a work environment that is more safe, healthy, resilient, inclusive, happy, balanced, sustainable, supportive, meaningful and responsible. The Good Work Goals were developed by Randstad, Janssen Benelux, AXA and Golazo within the ST Group Well-Being Economy.

Eddy Annys, Managing Director of Randstad Belgium: "Work is at the heart of our daily lives, so as the world's largest provider of HR services, it is our moral duty to help ensure that we can guarantee well-balanced workplaces for our employees. Because safe and good working conditions result also in happy employees outside of work." Henk Janssen, CEO of Baloise Insurance ads: "With the Good Work Goals, we are further strengthening our ambition at Baloise Insurance to continue to focus on the mental and physical well-being of all our stakeholders. Today and in the future". Bob Verbeeck, CEO of Golazo emphasizes the interconnectedness of the different objectives of the Good Work Goals: "Golazo's purpose is to make people lead a healthy and more active lifestyle. Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day has a positive impact not only on physical well-being, but also on mental well-being and this also has an impact on social, societal and business well-being." Sonja Willems, CEO of Janssen Benelux highlights one of the major challenges but also major opportunities for the future: “We often talk about the ‘War for Talent’, but we have so much to win in the capabilities of the people who currently work for us, at home or on site”.

Inspire, learn ánd act

By signing one or both charters, companies are also given access to a learning network, facilitated by AMS and the ST Groups. This learning network gives them the opportunity to share challenges and best practices with peers. The companies also get to participate in three deep-diving sessions per year, exploring key areas of the circular and the well-being economy. And at the Annual Gathering of both ST Groups, the signatories give account of the progress they made in implementing the Circular Economy Commitment or the Good Work Goals. In this way, the signatories are stimulated and supported to take action and to grow continuously on their way to sustainable transformation.

Companies and organizations interested in signing the charters can find all the information at www.sustainabletransformationgroups.com.

Official signing of theGood Work Goals and the Circular Economy Commitment. From left top to right bottom: : Steven De Haes Dean AMS, Jan Remeysen CEO BASF Antwerp, Arnaud Feist CEO Brussels Airport, Inge Nuyens CEO DOX Projectinrichters, Claudia Mariconda Head of Sustainable Transition Port of Antwerp, Eddy Annys Managing Director Randstad, Sonja Willems CEO Janssen Benelux, Bob Verbeeck CEO Golazo, Henk Janssen CEO Baloise Insurance

Press contact: anja.tys@ams.ac.be

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