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Advisory report 20: ‘The Sustainable Development Goals – Opportunities for Flemish companies’

1 October 2021

This is a follow-up report to VARIO-Advisory Report 17 ‘The Sustainable Development Goals as a compass for science, innovation and entrepreneurship policy'.

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In its advisory report, VARIO states that sustainability, in the broad sense of the SDGs, should be at the core of companies as well as the government. That will make businesses and our region as a whole more competitive and resilient. In that sense, the relaunch after the covid crisis is an excellent momentum, with large budgets being released in Flanders and worldwide, and therefore also with earning opportunities. In Flanders, we must also continue to build on expertise that contributes to the realization of the SDGs and thus position ourselves on the international market.

In the advisory report, VARIO makes overarching recommendations to the government, but also more specifically, aimed at, a.o. VLAIO and FIT, and with regard to education. Specifically, the main recommendations are:

  • In the interaction with companies, in different ways and at different levels, stimulate business from purpose and making business models more sustainable. Specific initiatives are also possible to this end, e.g. aimed at international business opportunities in the context of the SDGs.
  • Make all possible government support to companies conditional to a globally positive impact on the SDGs.
  • Use regulations and standards in a smart way to create markets for products, technologies or services that contribute to achieving the SDGs.

VARIO recognizes that good evolutions have already been set in motion at various levels within the government, and wants to help further improve and accelerate these further through its recommendations.

At the request of Minister-President Jan Jambon, VARIO also formulated an advisory report with regard to the draft concept fourth Flemish Strategy for Sustainable Development (VARIO Advisory Report 21). This advice should be read together with VARIO reports 17 and 20 on the SDGs.