“Sustainability should be at the core of every business model”

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When I see more than 35.000 Belgian people joining a march in Brussels demanding better protection of the globe’s climate, I am strengthened in my belief that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a must in building sustainable businesses. I want to be a part of that, every day of my professional life at Dell. So I’m very honored to be nominated as one of the finalists for CSR Professional of the Year 2018.

Every day, at Dell, we are pairing technology with innovation to make a positive social and environmental impact – building a Legacy of Good. We are committed to putting our technology and expertise to work, where it can do the most good for people and the planet.

The fact that citizens and companies are starting all kinds of initiatives only strengthens my own commitment. Just think of Sign For My Future, which is more widely supported in the business world, with about hundred CEOs demanding concrete solutions from the authorities. A long time ago, I realized that sustainability and CSR are not side initiatives but should be put at the core of our business. And that’s just what we did at Dell EMC Belux. CSR is now put forward as a key focus area, and all employees are engaged in our local initiatives. To set the example, I invest a large amount of my time in spreading the CSR message in the BeLux community and personally taking part in and pushing these initiatives.

But my dedication goes beyond my professional life. Out of personal dedication, I took part in a climate awareness trip to Alaska last year, to raise awareness for global warming. And I am also involved in educational projects for girls to get access to education in Uganda.

Small efforts, great results

But it’s not always the great stories that have the most environmental and social impact. We encourage our employees to participate in CSR efforts through Employee Resource Groups (ERG). These groups organize initiatives to reduce our environmental impact, transform the community and promote diversity &inclusion. For example: every month our ERG organizes a ‘litter walk’. Several employees take a walk in the streets surrounding the office collecting litter along the public road. It’s a small effort with great results. Last month we collected almost 100 kg of litter.

Team member volunteerism is an important part of our culture. Giving our employees the freedom to engage when and how they want, gives them ownership and therefore pleasure in their work. I am always enthusiastic to join in on any of these initiatives. By walking the talk, I believe I can inspire others to join. Did you know that for every 10 hours a team member dedicates to charity, we donate 100 dollars for that initiative? This seemingly simple principle allows me to engage in a wide range of local initiatives.

Diversity

One of the driving principles I believe in the most, is diversity. It is an essential component of a healthy CSR strategy. Without a diverse team, you cannot succeed. And by diversity, I mean diversity in age, skills, character, gender and culture. I believe in creating a workplace where all people feel like they belong and can bring their true self to work. I was really proud to be rewarded the JUMP award for Gender Equality at Work last year – a token of appreciation for all the free time I spent advocating for diversity and inclusion at the workplace wherever I can. Ever since I took up executive positions, I’ve always tried to build formal and informal structures to encourage, promote, and develop female talent. Because I know from my own experience: role models are very important to people.

Walk the talk

The core of this message comes down to putting CSR at the heart of your company. Today, we are more aware of this world’s problems than ever, we create countless NGOs and social organizations and engage in philanthropy. But the change is too slow. If we want to start winning, we need to walk the talk and talk about this topic in everything we do. That’s exactly what I do daily. Transform the way we do business by engaging myself and my team, rather than considering it just as “a plus”.

I hope to meet you along the way!

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Vote for CSR Professional of the Year. 

On February 21st the CSR Professional of the Year 2018 will be announced.

Don’t forget to vote for me via http://www.csrprofessionaloftheyear.be/vote-en.html

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