29 november 2022
In the four other categories, this year’s Awards were won by:
The Institute of Registered Auditors (IBR-IRE) celebrates this year the 21st edition of the Awards for Best Belgian Sustainability Reports, which reward and encourage organisations to report transparently on sustainability issues by promoting the integration of sustainability information, such as environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, into organisations’ reports.
In November 2022, this pioneering initiative was rewarded with a special nomination in the national category at the ISAR Honours 2022. ISAR is a Standing Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting coordinated by UNCTAD. The ISAR Honours initiative aims to raise awareness and facilitate dissemination of national and international best practices on sustainability and SDG reporting.
Today’s ceremony was followed by some 250 interested parties who were also allowed to vote in the 'best impact' category. The Awards for the four other categories were granted by a professional jury composed of representatives of the academic, economic and social profit world, journalists, as well as registered auditors.
This year 47 organisations submitted a report. The participating organisations are divided between 37 “large companies” that are either listed or have more than 250 employees, and 10 “other organisations” which include “SMEs” that have less than 250 employees and organisations such as NGOs, non-profit organisations, federations, schools or public institutions.
The jury used evaluation criteria that are largely aligned to the GRI Standards and include the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015. Sustainability reports based on national frameworks, Union-based frameworks or international frameworks are also eligible to the Awards. The purpose of this initiative is also to put forward reports on the basis of one particular criterion, not necessarily GRI-based.
TRENDS IN SUSTAINABILITY REPORTING IN BELGIUM – TIME TO ACT!
In its final conclusions the Jury stated that today’s sustainability reporting landscape is getting towards more harmonisation with the initiatives at European and international levels. Upcoming European Directives (CSRD, EU Taxonomy, Due diligence) start to have a real impact on companies, especially on large companies but also indirectly on all SMEs. This is why it is essential to get prepared.
“Almost all companies in Belgium will be impacted by the changes and practices in reporting implied by the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). Banks and financial investors will also start looking closer at ESG activities of companies seeking financing. It is therefore high time for SMEs to start integrating ESG in their strategy, governance and reporting”, says Marc Daelman, president of the Jury. “Pressure to change also comes from all over (media, social media, investors, stakeholders), it is time to (start) act(ing)”.
The organisations taking part in the Awards are already preparing for the new regulatory requirements regarding sustainability reporting and for increasing expectations from financial institutions or investors.
The Jury members congratulate all participating entities and encourage them to keep on establishing quality sustainability reports with clear reference to internationally recognized reporting standards.
Soon, sustainability reports will also have to be audited. In his closing speech, the Chairman of the IBR-IRE (Patrick Van Impe) stressed that “given his knowledge of the organisation, his experience of international auditing standards, his independence and the external oversight to which he is subject, the registered auditor is in our view a logical partner to provide assurance on these reports, a statement also shared by the business community”.
Download the full report: Trends & remarkable reports of the 2022 edition.