The Sustainability Professionals 2022
have been elected!

The Sustainability Professional 2022 plays a strategic and indispensable role within their company or organisation as someone who motivates, inspires or implements sustainability. This person’s job title can range from sustainability manager to CEO, HR manager, marketer, project leader, event manager, etc.

In addition, we honour the the Sustainability Pioneer 2022: a starter in the field of Sustainability, who has realized a strong, inspirational project or best practice during the past year. This title will also go to one Dutch-speaking and one French-speaking candidate.

The Sustainability Professionals 2022 are …

In the Dutch-speaking category:


Nele Van Damme,
co-CEO of Upgrade Estate

Upgrade Estate provides and manages sustainable housing for students, young professionals, and SMEs. Sustainability and societal value have been integrated into all their activities. Companies can and should make a difference. In 2021, they introduced a sustainability charter and created a basis for a Net-Zero 2035 Climate Plan. They want to use this to decarbonise their operational processes and the upward value chain.

Nele Van Damme: “I am so glad I can add this award to my achievements. The tension had me shaking at the knees. The other finalists were, of course, also deserving. This recognition is intensely valuable to me, my co-CEO, and all our employees who help us translate our core values to concrete and sustainable actions. This award boosts our motivation and confirms that we are doing the right thing. How do I see my role as Sustainability Professional? I want to inspire others and emphasize that small steps also make a difference. If you use an underlying long-term plan, things will eventually go according to that plan.”

In the French-speaking category:


Bruno Van Steenberghe,
managing director of Kalani-Home

Kalani-Home produces 100% biological and ethical house linen. In 2021, they made the duty of care, their raison d’ être, a large-scale reality. Bruno was a driving force behind a think tank consisting of a wide variety of enterprises which produced a letter to the Belgian government pleading to legally establish the duty of care. This would push companies to take up their responsibility for environmental and human rights in supply chains.

Bruno Van Steenberghe: “I am happy, surprised, and thankful to have won this award. This is a tremendous recognition not only for myself but for our entire team. The other finalists were real heavy hitters. We live in an age in which sustainability will become crucial. As Sustainability Professional 2022, I want to be a worthy ambassador. It would be amazing if I could inspire others to have a positive impact. I want to thank everyone that has supported me: my friends, my family, the members of the jury, our customers, and everyone who voted for me. And of course, who could forget the anonymous person who nominated me in the first place (laughs)?”

The Sustainability Pioneers 2022 are …

In the Dutch-speaking category:


Cédric Vanhoeck,
Executive Lead & cofounder, Resortecs

The jury is of the opinion that Cédric Vanhoeck, an Executive Lead at Resortecs, performs pioneer work in the field of sustainability. As Sustainability Pioneer, he makes total recyclability an achievable goal for the entire textile sector. Thanks to his innovative way of disassembling textile products, he is able to reuse textile “waste” more efficiently, enabling a switch from a linear “take-make-dispose” supply chain to a circular one. Resortecs’ Cédric serves as a role model for the textile industry which has been searching for a new, sustainable technology for a long time now.

In the French-speaking category:


Cécile Van De Weerdt,
Green Office Coordinator, Liège University

The jury is of the opinion that Cécile Van De Weerdt deserves the title of Sustainability for founding the Green Office at her workplace, the university of Liège. Together with a team of students, she created an engagement programme with clear objectives and a strong roadmap to half the carbon footprint of individual students by 2030. This is a challenge she tackles in a precise and structured manner. She keeps on motivating young people and stakeholders to achieve this goal.

Yes, you read that correctly. We changed our awards’ titles. Until last year, we elected the CSR Professional of the Year and the CSR Pioneer of the Year. This year, however, we will elect the Sustainability Professional of the Year and the Sustainability Pioneer of the Year. We do this because we believe that these new terms are an even better representation of what the award stands for.

In other, rather big news, the awards will be organised by both Time4Society and VBO FEB, the federation of Belgian entrepreneurs. This results in a meaningful value increase for both companies and organisations.

Pieter Timmermans,

CEO VBO FEB

“We will gladly support this event for years to come. It is an important event for the world of business because we need to inspire and support positive and sustainable entrepreneurship.”

Nathalie Bekx,

CEO Time4Society:

“These awards are proof that there is an increasing number of companies and organisations that choose sustainability. Not only that, they also want to learn from one another and cooperate with each other.”

On Thursday the 24th of February 2022, we organized the seventh Sustainability Professional 2022 event.

View the photos of this exciting evening here.

These are the winners of the previous editions:

CSR Professional of the Year 2019
Dutch-speaking category:
Caroline Pauwels, rector Vrije Universiteit Brussel

“Our university teaches our youth the values of social responsibility. The next generations will take good care of our planet – of that I am sure. If we focus on positive things, we can achieve so much together.”

CSR Professional of the Year 2019
French-speaking category:
Nicolas Declercq, founder Brasserie Leopold 7

“I dream that in 50 years’ time, my children will say: my father was a pioneer. Beer is a valued product and people associate it with passion. My passion for beer production goes hand in hand with a great number of values. To me, that’s very important.”

CSR Professional of the Year 2018
Dutch-speaking category:
Ann Claes, Chief Buying Officer, JBC

“I am very happy with this award, which actually belongs to our entire team. We have been working hard on more sustainability over the past few years. One example we are very proud of, is that we are now selling 100% recycled jeans at JBC. This award is a nice recognition for the route we have taken.”

CSR Professional of the Year 2018
French-speaking category:
Pascal Léglise, CSR Director, Carrefour Belgium

“Together with my team, I have been working for more than 10 years on the road to more sustainable entrepreneurship in retail. And today we are reaping the benefits, together with the local producers that we support though Act for Food. This award is a great recognition of our work!”

CSR Professional of the Year 2017
category large enterprise:
Eric de Deckere, Senior Technical Manager Sustainable Transition, Port of Antwerp

“Winning this award is a recognition of the trajectory we have followed so far. In 2010 and 2011 we started reporting on sustainability. This eventually resulted in concrete actions. Right now we are in the midst of a transition. Reporting is still one of our core practices, but now we are doing so much more. This prize is a reward for all our hard work, for the team and for the companies that are involved in the harbour community and are willing to undertake steps with the aim of becoming more sustainable.”

CSR Professional of the Year 2017
category SME:
Philip Van Kelst, founder & CEO, Kasteelhoeve Wange

“This prize is nice reward! Since the foundation of Kasteelhoeve Wange we have been making a lot of CSR efforts in order to become sustainable. It was a fundamental choice, also out of financial considerations. It has been a lonely and frightful way at times, but along the way we have gathered a whole community, which I find very fulfilling. People believe in us, they connect with us. This award is the icing on the cake!”

CSR Professional of the Year 2016
category large enterprise:
Ann Vandenhende, CSR Manager Spadel

“This award is a recognition for the entire Spadel team. My CEO, Marc Du Bois, deserves praise and a ‘thank you’ as well. In the field of CSR he’s at least as passionate as I am. Without his enthusiasm, I wouldn’t have been able to do the work I’m doing today. And I’ll keep on doing my job with loads of enthusiasm!”

CSR Professional of the Year 2020
Dutch-speaking category:
Philippe Weiler, Head of Sustainability Lidl Belgium

I am very happy with this recognition. We and two other organisations stood together in the finals. Each of us bring CSR alive in their own way. But all with the same goal, which is to be a part of that transition.”

CSR Professional of the Year 2020
French-speaking category:
Salvatore Iannello, CEO La Chocolaterie Galler

This is an emotional moment. When the project of one man becomes that of a team and then of a whole cooperating company, it is magical. This title is not mine but the whole company’s!”

CSR Professional of the Year 2016
category SME:
Joost Callens, CEO Durabrik

“I’m blown away a bit. I want to dedicate this award to my team and I want to thank them for their hard work. In the words of Toon Hermans: ‘There have to be people that ignite suns, before the world rains away’. I’m happy that I can make a contribution.”

CSR Professional of the Year 2015:
Michel Croisé, president Sodexo Benelux

“This award is a recognition for the whole team of Sodexo. It is a pleasure to motivate people who are already motivated. But the most important thing is that we all take steps towards a better society.”