The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations are exceptionally ambitious: freeing humanity from poverty and re-orienting the planet towards sustainability. VITO supports the realisation of the SDGs and has formulated its own ambitious proposals for eight of the seventeen goals.

VITO as organisation plays an exemplary role and aims to be a leader in sustainability. This is already evident in practice. For example, we are replacing diesel-powered service vehicles with electric and hybrid vehicles. VITO employees will test various options for climate-neutral mobility. We are experimenting with electric pool cars for business trips, e-tickets for public transport company De Lijn, a wide range of company bicycles, bike sharing systems such as Blue-bike, and a compensation system for the CO2 that we emit while travelling by air.

Within OnePlanet@VITO, all employees are encouraged to propose initiatives. In this, VITO looks at sustainability in the broad sense, in line with the SDG framework. We always try to involve six elements based on the traditional three Ps: people, planet, well-being, partnership, justice and dignity. All initiatives are supported scientifically. A sustainability dashboard shows the effects of our actions, allowing us to measure our impact. In the meantime we have gathered more than forty ideas for quick wins, and want to launch five specific pilot projects before the end of 2018.

Quick wins

Quick wins are quickly implemented initiatives whose effects can also be quickly measured. We realised a few in 2017. For example, at most VITO facilities, paper towels in toilet areas have been replaced by air blowers. The result is a saving of 12 000 euros per year, zero waste and still clean and dry hands.

For business trips, employees can choose a sustainable alternative. VITO offers among others bicycle leasing for commuting to and from work. Electrification of the vehicle fleet has resulted in a 20 percent reduction in the purchase of diesel fuel, and decreased CO2 emissions. The province of Antwerp’s Mobiscan gives us a new, up-to-date view of how many VITO employees are coming to work by car, bicycle or public transport. This is the start of the Climate Neutral Mobility pilot project.

Three pilot projects

We presently have already launched three concrete pilot projects that support our ambitions: we are working with Green Deal on our purchasing policy, we used 21 percent less printing paper in the past year in the pursuit of a paperless office, and we are working towards a climate-positive campus that contributes to greater biodiversity in its surroundings.