Luxembourg Sustainable Business Principles; Credit: Chamber of Commerce

The Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce has presented its "Luxembourg Sustainable Business Principles", ten guiding principles to put sustainability at the heart of corporate strategy in Luxembourg.

In line with the commitments made in the framework of the Paris Agreement on global warming, the seventeen sustainable development goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations (Agenda 2030) and the ten priority actions to take defined by Luxembourg's national plan for sustainable development, the Chamber of Commerce has officially launched the Luxembourg Sustainable Business Principles.

The transition to more sustainable business models is, together with digitalisation, the key challenge for companies over the next decade. This dual transition, and successful assimilation and implementation by companies, is at the heart of their future competitiveness and resilient and inclusive prosperity. As such, the Chamber of Commerce launched a working group dedicated to sustainable development in 2020, to move forward in a strategic and operational way towards sustainability.

Co-constructed with a panel of 20 companies from the industry, transport and finance sectors, the Chamber of Commerce made the Luxembourg Sustainable Business Principles official on Monday 12 July 2021. Designed as a compass, based on the four cardinal pillars of sustainable development (Governance, Prosperity, Planet, People), ten guiding principles have been established to guide and provide a strategic and coherent vision of the implementation of sustainable development at the company level. They allow for the anticipation of regulations, meeting the expectations of various stakeholders and seizing related opportunities for growth.

Sustainable development - a must

With the Paris Agreement on climate change and the UN's 2030 Agenda mobilising the entire international community around seventeen SDGs, awareness and involvement in sustainable development have been accelerating since 2015.

In addition to voluntary initiatives, the transition to more sustainable operating procedures is also being driven by a significant regulatory agenda at the European level.

In the context of economic recovery following the COVID-19 crisis, there is a broad consensus that it should be economically strong, socially equitable and ecologically viable. Sustainable development is a subject that concerns all companies.

A project by companies for companies

The strategic work carried out by the Chamber of Commerce on the "Third Industrial Revolution" in 2016 already established the objective of driving the country's transition towards new production and consumption models that would allow a shift towards qualitative growth. Similarly, the launch of the "Fondation IDEA" think tank was intended to reflect on a sustainable future for Luxembourg. With this new initiative, the Chamber of Commerce is providing a common and comprehensible reading of sustainable development for companies.

Under the leadership of Luc Frieden, President of the Chamber of Commerce, a working group dedicated to sustainable development was created in autumn. Chaired by Geoffroy Bazin, former elected member of its Plenary Assembly and former CEO of BGL BNP Paribas, together with Anne-Marie Loesch, Head of CSR at the Chamber of Commerce, and her team, Valérie Arnold, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Leader at PWC Luxembourg, and Norman Fisch, Secretary General of the INDR, the initiative relied on the direct contribution of the CEOs of 23 pilot companies from the industry, transport and banking and insurance sectors. Focusing on the needs and priorities of companies to contribute to sustainable development and taking into account the rapidly evolving regulatory agenda, the working group established, in a bottom-up approach that conveys the voice and convictions of companies, ten guiding and federating principles for the Luxembourg business community.

In addition to the pilot companies, the Chamber of Commerce's working group involved all the key stakeholders in Luxembourg who are strongly committed to sustainable development and corporate social responsibility (CSR), in order to capitalise on the vast Luxembourg ecosystem involved in this field.

The Luxembourg Sustainable Business Principles aim to mobilise companies in the Grand Duchy around sustainable development and to propose a common and federating goal for 2030 in this major strategic subject area.

Supporting the sustainable transition of companies through a support plan

In the second phase that has just been launched, the working group is co-constructing, with expert partners and pilot companies, a support plan on the ten guiding principles to support the national business community in the assimilation and operational implementation of the Luxembourg Sustainable Business Principles.

This support will be based on the numerous initiatives of professional federations, institutions and other associations already highly committed to sustainable development, such as the INDR (Institut National pour le Développement Durable et la RSE), the High Council for Sustainable Development (Conseil Supérieur pour un Développement Durable - CSDD), Inspiring More Sustainability (IMS), the Luxembourg Sustainable Finance Initiative (LSFI) and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST). It will include training and strategic measures, transformation and reporting covering the key topics of sustainable development, from the purpose to the circular economy and decarbonisation, to name but a few of the guiding principles.