EY Belgium’s Sustainability Report
Our ambition is clear: integrating ESG into our core business strategy, linking it to our universal purpose of ‘Building a better working world’.
The objectives of our sustainability efforts are threefold. First, by identifying key material ESG topics and then defining KPIs and targets that match our sustainability ambition, we aim to make our efforts tangible and transparent for all our stakeholders. Second, while we are inspired by the myriad EY initiatives at the global level, we are keen to select and implement our own bespoke local programs and initiatives. Third, leading by example has always been a characteristic of our organization, and in doing so we rarely take the path of least resistance. Yet this is precisely what pushes us to help our stakeholders innovate and pursue their sustainability efforts.
Today’s world is experiencing unprecedented social inequalities and climate-related challenges that have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis and require immediate action by all. As a trusted business advisor, we at EY Belgium are convinced that we have to share our knowledge and insights with our stakeholders to help build a more sustainable, inclusive and responsible world, while putting the necessary changes into practice ourselves. A world in which we can leave our positive mark on society for future generations. We are proud to share our commitment which is illustrated by some examples of efforts and initiatives we have been conducting over the past year.
We take particular pride in all the EY Belgium employees we have been able to mobilize for our EY Corporate Responsibility program, EY Ripples. Sharing your knowledge and skills with those who may be less fortunate or educated can be incredibly rewarding. Furthermore, we have experienced a significant culture change in our mobility policy in recent years. Reducing business travel by 50% from our base year 2019, greening our fleet and opting for softer mobility options are just a few successful examples of actions that form part of our 8 ‘priority ESG topics’ to enhance our environmental and social performance. By benchmarking our ESG performance and including the results in our Sustainability Report, we wish to continue to inspire our clients and other stakeholders to step up their own sustainability efforts. As we continue our journey towards building a better working world, we are aware that long-term success can only be achieved step by step. We are all in this together because our planet is our future and there is no future without our planet.
Renewable electricity in all our offices in Belgium since 2021
Electric and hybrid cars represent 32% of the total EY Belgium car fleet
Top 3 ranking in the Great Place to Work Award in Belgium
Planting no less than 5.000 trees, meeting EY Belgium’s pledge to plant 2 trees per employee
32 projects carried out in FY22 and 32.000 lives positively impacted
23% of the total use of products in our facilities in FY23 meets environmental requirements (ISO14020, 14021, 14024)
Value creation at EY Belgium
We believe that creating long-term value is about driving inclusive growth not only through financial value but also through responsible business practices. How? By delivering exceptional services in full transparency and independence to our clients as well as leading by example. By focusing on this goal, we have been able to build trust with our stakeholders while being fully compliant with the applicable financial, social, and environmental legislation and staying ahead of the curve. It is crucial for us to be credible when providing best-in-class services to our clients, which is why we have created the EY Global Code of Conduct, the backbone of our compliance as well as the underlying policies and guidelines defining our values.
At a global level, the EY network is committed to helping businesses create value for sustainability as well as helping sustainability create value for business. Our employees all contribute to reframing how business approaches sustainability and putting it at the center of how value is created. This is encompassed by our purpose ‘Building a better working world’ and has helped us frame our activities and understand how to place ESG at the center of them.
At EY Belgium, we take this purpose to heart as we do our best to provide guidance to our employees, clients, and other stakeholders and help them face the ESG challenges and opportunities by reframing their businesses. Building trust and confidence is crucial in this transformation process, not only for the capital markets and economies, but also for our society. People increasingly consider the positive social and environmental impact to be a core part of their professional projects, and they also require more transparency and benchmarks of ESG performance.
In our commitment to Building a better working world and ensuring sustainable growth, we have identified high-impact ESG areas to focus on through a collaborative engagement with our internal and external stakeholders. Our business is defined and nourished by our interaction with various stakeholders. When engaging with them, we listen carefully to their needs and aspirations to meet their expectations in our drive towards excellence. Their feedback also acts as a beacon in our pursuit of long-term sustainable value creation.
In FY22, we focused our efforts on identifying the most relevant internal and external stakeholders with whom we engage in a proactive way and on a regular basis.
Sustainability at EY Belgium
After having identified EY Belgium’s stakeholders, it is important to understand the ESG topics that are material for the organization, and where the organization could have a greater impact. In this analysis, we worked step by step. As a first step, we identified the various ESG topics we could act upon at EY Belgium, i.e., the areas where we think we could gain the most ground and be most successful with the engagement of all stakeholders involved.
- GHG emissions, energy use and energy efficiency
- Use of green products
- Diversity, equity, inclusiveness
- Skills development and training
- EY Belgium governance
- Business conduct
At EY Belgium the environmentally linked priority topics of energy efficiency, mobility and use of green products are the key areas where we feel we can achieve quick gains. In the social section diversity, equity, and inclusiveness as well as gender equality are priority topics on which more continuous efforts are needed. In terms of governance, our main focus lies on the alignment of our material topics with the principles of the UNGC and SDGs and on the further roll-out of our LEAD tool (leadership evaluation and development), anti-corruption, ethics, and quality risk management.
In addition, one of our main priorities is to integrate sustainability into all the services we provide to our clients. We continuously update our service offering to take into consideration the latest sustainability developments.
Flying on ‘The Wings’ of sustainability: EY Belgium’s CEO talks about new HQ
EY Belgium is moving to its new headquarters end of 2023. How ground-breaking is your new building in Diegem?
Our new futureproof building is part of a brand-new development in Diegem called ‘The Wings’. This building represents the ultimate in advanced building technologies and – most importantly – will allow us to generate all the energy we need, without consuming any fossil fuels. We will be using LED lighting, climate ceilings, heat pumps occupation measurement to minimize energy usage, as well as solar panels and passive cooling to maximize our on-site renewable energy production. In fact, it is the first office building in Belgium to make use of geothermal energy. EY Belgium’s HQ will clearly be the pinnacle of our energy-saving policy. We will also be the first office building to obtain the three following certificates BREEAM (Excellent)4, Well (Gold)5 and DNGB (Gold)6.
How will the building help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from employees’ commuting?
The building will also help us reduce GHG emissions from employees’ commuting by ensuring an excellent multimodal infrastructure. More than half of the parking lots are equipped with charging stations. We also have big bicycle stands with charging facilities and adjacent showers for maximal comfort. A ‘Bluebike’ sharing point will be available on site. Moreover, there is an outstanding connection to public transport with a railway station within walking distance, as well as a future tram stop in front of the building.
Does this building have any other advantages compared to your current building?
More than an office, this new building will be a place where we’ll be able to meet and interact with our colleagues and clients. It will also house a restaurant, a four-star hotel, a gym and a 1.700 m² Business Center, all in a green setting of garden terraces. Thus, our new way of working will perfectly balance work and well-being.
EY Belgium’s shift towards sustainability has started but there are still many more opportunities for improvement and growth. Fortunately, our organization has an incredible wealth of talent to tap into, helping us navigate this step-by-step venture. By publishing these annual reports, we hope to share our progress and results transparently with our various stakeholders.
We have made a good efforts during this fiscal year with numerous efforts and initiatives for which staff, clients and partners can’t be thanked enough. It is now important that we focus on areas where there is room for improvement. Only by integrating ESG practices into our activities we will be able to create long-term value for all our stakeholders. As such, EY Belgium will focus on setting targets for our ESG indicators to track our performance and progress over time and make sure we are going in the right direction.