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BDO Global Sustainability Center of Excellence

Mieke Loncke, Marketing & Communication Director BDO Belgium

Sustainability is a very complex and broad story. Which makes it difficult for companies to know what steps to take first, at the right time, with the right focus, in the right direction. To ultimately have maximum valuable impact and to support our clients with their needs within their specific context and ambition, it is crucial for us as sustainability consultants to work within an ecosystem of experts sharing as well as leveraging on collective experience and know-how. Over 50 sustainability experts from 20 BDO offices worldwide launched a Global Sustainability Centre of Excellence. A source packed with expertise, experience and best practices aimed to best serve our clients.

“We can play a big part in changing the world. With over 90,000 people plus 900,000 clients across the world, plus the clients’ value chain, we have a lot of influence and can drive change.” With these words, Trond-Morten Lindberg, CEO EMEA at BDO Global, sets the tone and at the same time, highlights the importance as well as the ambition of BDO and its Global Sustainability Centre of Excellence.

Today, sustainable entrepreneurship is no longer an option, but a must if you want to remain relevant as an organisation. “It is important, together with your stakeholders, to focus on those ESG topics (environmental, social and governance) that are relevant to your sector and business context,” says Tessy Martens. She is the Sustainability Services Lead and is building the Sustainability Centre of Excellence team at BDO Belgium together with Pierre Poncelet. “Such a sustainability process is incremental, continuously improving in line with the company’s ambition and strategy.”

You don’t become a sustainable company overnight. That is why our consultants insist on starting or further developing the sustainability transition process with the right focus, stakeholders and methodology. Considering the specific business context and ambition, they can give clients pragmatic and tailored advice for impactful results. This can be improved by combining experience and know-how and learning from each other in an ecosystem. Tessy: “That was the goal of the first BDO Global Sustainability Workshop; to strengthen a global Centre of Excellence in the field of sustainability to support our clients’ needs and requests to the best. Because, while company X focuses on energy efficiency or circularity, company Y or Z will make other strategic choices, such as a sustainable purchasing policy, green mobility, diversity/equality/inclusion, etc.”

“You don’t become a sustainable company overnight. Sharing knowledge is an accelerator. Hence the importance of an ecosystem of expertise.”

Tessy Martens, Sustainability Services Lead

Sustainability Journey

Whether you start with a sustainability process or want to boost an existing programme, each company must take a number of steps to achieve sustainability in an impactful manner. “We call this the ‘sustainability journey’, a journey towards sustainability in different waves: from strategy and implementation to reporting and assurance,” Tessy explains. “The order depends on the specific context, current maturity and ambition as well as the requirements of the stakeholders. It is essential to go through each wave, with every step within each wave raising your overall knowledge and skills to a higher sustainable level.”

Although sustainability must inherently come from within your company, BDO can offer teams the right skills, tools and methodologies to grow sustainably. Tailor-made, taking into account the sector, scale, maturity and sustainability objectives of your company or organisation.