The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched in 2015. In 2018, Antwerp Management School, the University of Antwerp and UCLouvain took the initiative to develop the first SDG Barometer to measure the adoption of the SDGs in Belgium, with the support of the Federal Institute for Sustainable Development (IFDD).
But what about the implementation of the SDGs in organizations in Belgium today? Are awareness and implementation initiatives helping to achieve the SDGs? What are the major differences compared to two years ago?
You will find below the main results from the SDG Barometer 2022
“It is extremely encouraging to see how the SDG Barometer shows that there still is a movement making substantial progress, using the SDGs as a compass and making strides to a more sustainable world in 2030.”
Minister Zakia Khattabi
The 2022 barometer provides insights on how Belgian organizations engage in the SDG agenda, based on various data points, including a survey, interviews and other reports from partners such as VOKA or the UWE. It is a significant contribution to Belgium’s voluntary national review, which will be presented in 2023 to the United Nations in order to show our country’s progress towards this global agenda.
2. Who participated in the survey?
The SDG Barometer 2022 data were collected from Belgian organizations through a questionnaire between June and July of 2022. A total of 129 full responses were collected, distributed nearly equally among Flemish and Walloon organizations (48.84% vs. 51.16%). Half of the respondents were companies, almost 20% were governmental organizations, slightly more than 10% were non-governmental organizations, and 5% were educational organizations (10% were other type of organizations).
3. Belgium and the integration of the SDGs
Impact of the COVID19
According the SDG Index, Belgian’s companies are performing quite well (79.7) which ranks our country 18th out of 163 countries included in the SDG index. The survey highlights that -despite the COVID pandemic- Belgian organizations are giving more and more attention to sustainability, with 73% of respondents claiming that they give a lot of attention to sustainability (against 58% in 2020). At the same time, "one in three organizations indicate that the sustainability process has been delayed by COVID-19 because they have set different priorities” says professor Valerie Swaen (UCLouvain). Other organizations have accelerated this process in recent years because they consider the pursuit of the SDGs to be essential in terms of resilience (30%) and because it contributes to the organization’s survival in the long-term.
Integration of the SDGs
In line with the previous results of the SDG Barometers of 2018 and 2020, 30% of the organizations considers the SDGs as a source of information for their sustainability strategies.
This survey highlights 4 main motivations for organizations to integrate the SDGs : society-oriented or moral motivations, stakeholder-oriented motivations, business-oriented motivations, and legitimacy-oriented motivations. On the other side, the biggest barrier seems to be a lack of knowledge from organizations’ internal or external stakeholders.
The survey also take a closer look on the presence and role of SDG education or training at different level of the organizations. It seems that the degree of SDGs integration into employee awareness and training activities, performance appraisals and compensation systems could still be improved. Even though 20.43% of the responding organizations indicate that SDGs are not part of their internal education and training activities, the Bel 20- companies’ sustainability reports (or integrated reports), do not mention specific SDG education and training activities. When training is organized, it tends to deal with topics related to sustainable development in a broader way.
Only 7.7% of the respondents claims to integrate SDGs into the remuneration schemes of their managers.
In terms of priorities, 72.9% of the organizations prioritize several SDGs. SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 3 (good health and well-being) rank among the most important SDGs according to Belgian organizations, which shows a clear connection with crises we currently face. On the other hand, SDG 15 (life on land), SDG 2 (zero hunger) and SDG 14 (life below water) rank among the lowest priorities, meaning that important considerations such as biodiversity or agriculture are currently overlooked by Belgian organizations.
In conclusion, the findings from the 2022 SDG Barometer show that organizations give more and more attention to sustainability, but still need to increase their efforts if we want to progress towards the SDGs. Organizations are encouraged to build on each other’s good practices, but also to coordinate their efforts when it comes to learning, measurement and policy. As António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General says, “Solidarity and collaboration are more essential than ever, as our world faces a series of challenges that threaten our collective future. “
|For more information, please read the full report. You can also consult the presentation of the 2022 SDG Barometer results given at the SDG Forum meeting.|