18 apr. 2024

Towards a sustainable future: an interview with Dries Vanneste, Sustainability Manager at Barco

DUURZAAMHEID - NIEUWS 2 min om te lezen

“A market leader with an extensive track record in sustainability”: that’s how Dries Vanneste knew Barco when he pursued the role of sustainability manager. Since early 2023, he has been steering and advancing our sustainability strategy. What are his first impressions, challenges, and outlook? We got together and asked him.

What makes you proud?

Does the perception you had when joining Barco still resonate strongly? Is Barco setting the tone in sustainability?

Dries: Barco has been accelerating its sustainability journey since 2015. That makes us one of the early adopters and a role model in the tech industry. In fact, the push came from one of our customers, who asked us to measure our carbon footprint and report it to the Carbon Disclosure Project. We began by drafting an action plan to curb our CO2 emissions and since then our work has never stopped.

Barco is, of course, a global company. Is sustainability key in every country where Barco is active?

Dries: Sustainability is part of Barco’s DNA, so this really is a global effort. We team up across divisions, business units, and country borders to improve our environmental and social impact. So yes, we are also translating sustainability actions towards our regional offices. In Europe, the Green Deal keeps us particularly sharp, but China and the US are clearly accelerating their efforts too.

Could you illustrate Barco’s frontrunner role with some examples?

Dries: Every Barco business unit incorporates sustainability targets within its strategic management plans and even our performance bonuses include sustainability KPIs. These are pretty ambitious commitments.

If I look back on the past year, I’m especially proud about the substantial increase in revenue from products with the Barco ECO Label, i.e. products that perform exceptionally well according to our ecoscoring methodology. This is the result of hard work of our R&D and product teams. Also, the methodology, which scores products throughout their lifecycle, is unique in our industry.

The steps taken in recent years are a solid foundation. By pursuing this path, we aim to continually enhance our impact and deliver a really bright tomorrow. 

Dries Vanneste

Sustainability Manager, Barco

Challenges along the way?

As really all eyes are on ESG these days: what are your main challenges along the road?

Dries: Data collection and (lifecycle) management are among our biggest challenges. We need high-quality, non-financial data to be able to constantly improve our performance and meet the upcoming reporting requirements. Moreover, data and insights are also the way to make reliable sustainability claims and avoid unintentional greenwashing. Still, it’s not easy to capture the complex data from an extensive range of sources, process it, and transform it into useful, meaningful results. In 2023, we appointed a dedicated Sustainability Controller to help us drive this initiative forward. In the meantime, we’ve drafted a sustainability reporting roadmap to prepare for CSRD.

CSRD introduced the concept of double materiality. Is Barco ready to report on it?

Dries: Double materiality requires us to consider how our actions impact people and the planet, and vice versa. In fact, we have just conducted a double materiality assessment. We consulted a wide range of internal and external stakeholders to understand how they view our sustainability strategy, ambitions, and actions. Stakeholders valued the consultations and their input was really valuable for us. In the meantime, we have shared the insights across the different business units. Based on the results, we will shape the agenda for our sustainability strategy of the coming years, which we’ll reveal in the 2024 integrated report.

Could you give us a sneak peek? Any remarkable outcomes you can share?

Dries: The stakeholder consultation validated our existing material topics, but did reveal some aspects where we should move into a higher gear. Diversity & Inclusion and circular economy will need more focus in the future.

A bright tomorrow

How will Barco’s sustainability strategy look within 5 years?

Dries: Well, a sustainable business is not built overnight. It’s a process. We will keep up our efforts on material topics like mitigating climate change, ensuring product stewardship, product quality, safety and security, nurturing talent, driving sustainable innovation, etc., and add new topics to our roadmap. One of the focus areas in the coming years will be to set new, ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets beyond 2025 and determine action plans to achieve these targets.

Yet, more than reducing our negative impact, we wish to be part of the solution too, by increasing our positive impact on planet and people. Our healthcare applications, for example, and collaborative technology solutions like ClickShare, can help drive sustainability around the globe.