02 November 2023

Is sustainability relevant for every company?

by Anneleen Wydooghe

As a service company, our impact on the environment is rather limited compared to manufacturing companies. So is sustainability a relevant issue for us as a company to focus on strategically, apart from meeting the requirements of the CSRD? The answer is a resounding yes! This is how we do it at Vandelanotte.

Fundamental questions

The CSRD methodology guides you as an entrepreneur through some very clear fundamental questions. Who are your stakeholders? What relationships do you have (and want to have)? What are the sustainability issues that you, as a company, could have an impact on in society at large? These questions challenge you to look critically at your current strategic choices.

As you interact with employees, customers, suppliers and, for the brave among us, perhaps even competitors, you will have the opportunity to reflect together on the role you play as a business in the bigger picture of our society. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, it forces you to think about where you want to go as a company or as an industry in the future.

  • As a company, will you continue to work with any customer, or will they also have to meet certain requirements?

  • How do you want to position yourself in the market to different stakeholders and how do you expect to evolve?

Making the right choices

Ideally, the analysis should show that your current strategic choices are the right ones, as they have been for us.

  • Our people are our greatest asset and we are fully committed to them. We do this in areas such as training, supervision, diversity and well-being.

  • An increasing focus on cyber security and clear codes of conduct ensure a safe and responsible working environment.

  • We are investing in a sustainable future by greening our fleet and buildings.

For a services company like ours, these are obvious choices. However, we see a fear among many business owners of being faced with requirements and obligations that are completely out of line with what they (want to) focus on. This fear is unfounded. On the contrary, a serious stakeholder and sustainability analysis confirms the relevance of your strategy and underlines why you should remain committed to it.

Clear objectives

But then comes the tricky part. Of course we set the right goals, but how often do we make them concrete, measurable and quantifiable? How often do we dare to set specific short and long term KPIs? How ambitious do we dare to be?

After the analysis phase, it is time to translate everything into clear objectives and action plans. Although this is the most challenging phase, it is also the most valuable. By making everything concrete, you as a company are challenged to put your money where your mouth is and do what you preach.

In summary, the issue of sustainability is coming our way, whether we want it or not. It is up to each of us to see it as an opportunity and be prepared for the future, or to see it as too much of a challenge.

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