BDO integrates Sustainable Development Goals

As a consultancy firm with over 700 employees, we are more conscious than ever of our responsibility towards our employees, customers and stakeholders. ‘People helping people’ expresses our purpose and is completely in line with our DNA: BDO is committed, pragmatic, personal and respectful.

Author: Michaël Van Cutsem, Partner BDO Public Sector


Based on this vision, our strategy has integrated the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations since last year. These goals serve as guidelines for BDO’s global approach towards targeted and impactful operations. Within BDO, we base the SDGs around four pillars: People, Community, Environment and Economy. In this regard, we focus above all on the SDGs that are the most important for us: 3, 5 and 10 (People), 4 and 17 (Community), 13 and 15 (Environment) and 8 and 9 (Economy). Over the coming years, we aim to integrate them gradually in everything we do.

“Living in a fair and just society requires constant personal and joint effort,” says Fabrice Grognard, member of the Board of Directors and responsible for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). “As a company, we must actively strive to achieve that goal. That’s why we launched a specific programme in 2020 to achieve as many sustainable development goals (SDGs) as possible.”

Some examples of our initiatives:

  • The launch of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) ambassador programme. Every BDO branch is provided with a CSR ambassador who serves as the point of contact between local colleagues and the CSR team.

  • Research by KU Leuven into BDO’s position regarding SDG 5 (gender equality) and SDG 10 (reduced inequalities) revealed that there are still a great many unconscious biases or preconceptions with regard to gender, race and age – just as there are throughout our society, in fact. We firmly believe that we must take specific actions within our organisation to increase awareness of those unconscious biases.

Right to culture

Furthermore, for many years now, BDO Belgium has supported Plan International Belgium’s children’s rights projects. A joint ‘Right to Culture’ project provided over 3,000 young people in Belgium with the opportunity to go and see the renowned musicals ‘Charlie Chaplin’ and ‘Les Misérables’ free of charge. This activity thus aligns perfectly with SDG 4: everyone, regardless of social or cultural background, must be able to further develop himself or herself.

“BDO considers it important to be able to contribute to a better world, and young people play a very important role in this,” emphasises Peter Van Laer, CEO of BDO Belgium. “Plan doesn’t just work for young people, it also involves them intensively and very actively – for example, in the decision-making process. It offers the ideal learning environment to teach the art of debate and how to set goals and make decisions. In this way, young people acquire crucial competences so that they can develop themselves further.”

Through Plan, BDO spoke to schools that commit specifically to fighting inequality/deprivation and promoting children’s rights and created educational training packages on poverty (the theme of ‘Les Misérables’) and the issue of refugees (Charlie Chaplin). BDO financed the tickets and training packages. Additionally, BDO staff guided and advised the young people during the performances.

Finally, in 2019, BDO Belgium sponsored the Belgian Prize for Children’s Rights, an initiative of Plan International Belgium and the Flemish Office of the Children’s Rights Commissioner and its French-language counterpart DGDE.

Do you have any questions about how BDO integrates the Sustainable Development Goals into its operations? If so, please do not hesitate to contact the specialists of our CSR team: et