The new initiative, co-created and led by the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Skilled Trades in partnership with the National Institute for Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Responsibility (INDR), is described as a “facilitating, coordinating and unifying” platform to mobilise Luxembourg companies for engagement in sustainable development. It assists companies in navigating the milieu of sustainability services, solutions, labels, and tools offered by the various players on the market so that they can capitalise on the opportunities linked to sustainability.

More than 300 company and institutional representatives gathered to celebrate the official opening of the House of Sustainability, which was graced by the presence of His Royal Highness, the Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and president of the Chamber of Commerce Fernand Ernster, who gave the opening address.

Sustainability issues at the core of company strategies and competitiveness

According to Anne-Marie Loesch, Head of Sustainability and Business Development at the Chamber of Commerce, consultations with various stakeholders and partners in the ecosystem–and as part of a working group that included Luxinnovation–took place prior to the official launch in order to evaluate the challenges of sustainable development and identify the needs of businesses in relation to these difficulties. “Our shared goal is to integrate sustainability issues into the core of the strategy of companies in Luxembourg,” explains Ms Loesch.

Dr Christian Berg, former Chief Sustainability Architect at SAP, established in his keynote speech “Can sustainability drive innovation and improvement” that sustainability is not only an opportunity for innovation, which in turn facilitates inventions and market success, but that all segments of society, from production and consumption to mobility and logistics, can be re-designed to include sustainable models.

Mr Berg demonstrated this with various corporate examples of how sustainability has pushed innovation in manufacturing processes or product design, such as optimising logistics to decrease emissions, the usage of meat substitutes, or sustainable smartphones with easily recyclable parts. The business case for sustainability was bolstered by rising customer and investor expectations.

Valérie Arnold, an independent sustainability consultant who also spoke at the opening, emphasised the need for action from an environmental and regulatory standpoint, given the reality of climate change and other new developments such as required ESG reporting standards and laws being enacted at the European level.

“When you go to the Olympics, you don’t go ill-prepared; you practice ahead of time and anticipate several scenarios to ensure you’re well-prepared,” said Dr Berg, encouraging companies to take action and rise up to the future challenges posed by a global population boom and finite resources.

People, planet, prosperity, and governance

The House of Sustainability’s conceptual framework, developed in collaboration with various stakeholders and partners, revolves around four key pillars of sustainable development: people, planet, prosperity, and governance. It also regroups 10 Sustainable Business Principles, which essentially outline the sustainability journey for companies and actions that they can take to become sustainable.

Beyond laying out the path to becoming more sustainable, it is critical that companies of all sizes and sectors are supported and surrounded by a reliable ecosystem to assist them along the way in making a smooth and seamless transition to a sustainable future. This is a key mission of the House of Sustainability. Each of the ten business principles is reinforced by comprehensive business services and instruments that are accessible to companies in Luxembourg.

“Topics such as responsible innovation and investment, decarbonisation and the circular economy, are all part of the ten principles. These are areas where the activities of Luxinnovation’s Sustainability Innovation Hub specifically come into play,” explains Johnny Brebels, Director of Company Relations and Support at Luxinnovation.

The Sustainability Innovation Hub brings together all of its operations that assist businesses in achieving their sustainable transformation goals.

Entry point to all sustainability solutions

All companies interested in exploring the sustainability solutions offered in Luxembourg by the ecosystem’s various partners can rely on the House of Sustainability as an entry point. The House lists business services spanning from training and awareness to financial support and partners. This complete catalogue includes the support offered by Luxinnovation’s to companies seeking to become more sustainable through innovation.

Companies with clear ideas and concrete innovative and sustainable projects they would like to implement, as well as those that are still figuring out specific actions to take to become more sustainable, are both prime candidates for Luxinnovation’s assistance. The agency is there to support their ambitions at every stage.

During the House of Sustainability inauguration, Emmanuelle Kipper, Senior Advisor – SME Performance at Luxinnovation, presented the support provided by Luxinnovation. The agency’s key tool for companies wishing to become more sustainable is the Fit for Sustainability programme, which is also part of the business services listed at the House of Sustainability. With the assistance of an external consultant and state co-funding, the programme assists companies to assess their carbon footprint and reduce their environmental impact. Luxinnovation has also developed an elaborate sustainability framework that companies can use to identify areas where they can innovate to become more sustainable. Those looking for the right products, services, solutions and technologies to become more sustainable through innovation can consult the list of over 400 sustainability enablers identified by the agency.

Photo credit: Luxinnovation

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