Taking the Sustainability Journey

Countries all over the world and the vast majority of their institutions, citizens and entrepreneurs have been aware of the vital and urgent need to address the social and environmental challenges posed by the impact of human activity on the planet. Since economic activities create value and wealth, they are an engine of prosperity and social progress. In order not to jeopardise the very ecosystem in which companies operate, it is therefore evident: economic development must be sustainable.

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Sustainable development was first defined in the Brundtland Report of 1987 as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. This is truly an issue facing the entire planet, and even if the repercussions manifest themselves differently on a local scale, global mobilisation is required. In 2015, the UN rallied the entire international community around 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) resulting in a historic agreement that same year: the Paris Agreement on climate change. The third version of the National Plan for Sustainable Development (PNDD) launched in December 2019 is a key tool for the implementation of Luxembourg’s 2030 Agenda for the SDGs. Notwithstanding the urgency of the situation given the challenges above, and the need for immediate action, sustainable development must be founded on an environmentally friendly and responsible economic model that relies on necessary profitability and:

  • contributes to the provision of effective long-term solutions to manage, mitigate and reduce environmental and societal impacts;
  • balances the needs of society with the limits of the earth’s resources and their regenerative capacity.

The long-term and the impacts of economic activities on all stakeholders must be taken into account alongside the need for shorter-term gains. For companies, the challenges of sustainable development require simultaneous and aligned consideration of the needs of business, the environment and society. By generating added value, companies contribute to technical progress, the transition to a green economy, the implementation of innovative and efficient solutions, job creation and the development of society’s well-being. All of these elements are key to the long-term success of businesses, social cohesion and environmental protection. Companies are key to providing answers and operational solutions to societal and environmental challenges. The Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce put forward ten guiding principles for the business community to adapt their business models by integrating the challenges of sustainable development into the core of their strategy in a more systematic manner. These principles form a compass that sets a course for each company in its transformation towards long-term value creation in line with the foundations of sustainable development. Whether they are small, medium or large, companies can contribute to the socio-economic prosperity of the country and play their part in achieving the PNDD goals. These ten guiding principles will sit alongside national ambitions underpinned by an action plan to support the national business community in their assimilation and operational implementation. This support will be based on the numerous initiatives of professional federations, institutions and other associations already committed to sustainable development, such as the INDR – Institut National pour le Développement Durable et la Responsabilité Sociale des Entreprises, IMS – Inspiring More Sustainability, LSFI – Luxembourg Sustainable Finance Initiative, or LIST – Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology – a full ecosystem to help companies embrace sustainability.

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