The sustainability strategy of DNS Belgium

In 2016 we launched a project at DNS Belgium to work out our sustainability strategy to the full. We have naturally always been an organisation with extensive social involvement and our sustainability story goes far further back.

For instance, since 2008 we have had a partnership with Close the Gap, we help starters via Unizo and KBC, and support education and training for the underprivileged.  We have also taken steps on other fronts to improve our sustainability:  we sort waste, deliberately print less, avail ourselves of various possibilities to strike a balance between work and private life, we are migrating to green data centres, are recycling our e-waste via Wordloop, etc.

But despite our social commitment and the many initiatives, there was still no overall strategy, no clear priorities, and sustainability was not explicitly mentioned in the mission of DNS Belgium.  Some clear objectives were consequently set for the sustainability project:

  1. Look into what corporate social responsibility can mean for a company such as DNS Belgium.
  2. Determine who the CSR stakeholders are.
  3. Determine the sustainability strategy with related actions and KPIs.

Reference and inspiration

During the investigation phase, we first looked into the sustainability performance of a selection of organisations from the domain name sector. Their best practices on the sustainability front were both a reference point and a source of inspiration for the development of the sustainability strategy of DNS Belgium.

We then subjected our entire ‘value chain’ to a critical analysis based on the 8 areas of the ISO 26000 sustainability directives:

  • Organisational governance
  • Environment
  • Labour practices
  • Human rights (we did not include them, because they do not apply to our activities and sectors)
  • Consumer issues
  • Sustainable purchasing and supply chain management
  • Community involvement and development
  • Communication.

We presented the findings of this analysis to our stakeholders on the sustainability front:

  • The members of the policy advisory body
  • The members of the strategic committee for  .be (on which government representatives sit)
  • Our registrar advisory board
  • The entire staff

The analysis shows that both staff and the board of directors found operational reliability, compliance with policy and privacy and security of information to be very important.  Not only did these subjects score high in terms of importance, but our efforts on this level were already assessed to be very high owing to our continuing investment in information security. We scored less well in terms of policy, environment, sustainable policy management and communication on sustainability.

The workgroup used this information to define a sustainability vision, strategy and objectives.

Vision, strategy and objectives

In a digitalized society where everybody is aware of the options of and has access to the benefits of domain names, DNS Belgium acts in a sustainable way, as a centre of excellence, regarding everything that's related to domain names.

DNS Belgium - as a neutral administrator & leader of Belgian domain names– will be an essential actor and the preferred partner for the many stakeholders that have an interest in a state-of-the-art secure internet for a digitally aware society.

To achieve this, DNS Belgium will continue to attract and retain top talent.

Our sustainability policy is based on four pillars:

  • Inspiring workplace
  • Leader in security
  • Digital awareness
  • Sustainable chain management

We defined the strategic objectives to be achieved by 2020 for each of these pillars:

Inspiring workplace

An inspiring workplace is a work place where the right people can perform the right work in a sound manner – a place where employees can bring their talents fully to bear and are given room to do good things, and an employer whom people choose consciously.  In other words, an employer of choice, who finds new people for the right jobs faster and easier and who can retain good employees.

Leader in security

The aim is to be recognised as an innovator in the world of domain names with zero incidents that have consequences for the uptime of our infrastructure and a reduction in the number of cases of inappropriate use.
An action plan must also be devised to become an expert in the Belgian security landscape so that we can give relevant input points to security institutions and the press.
    
Digital awareness

The aim is to enhance awareness about the use and misuse of the Internet among certain target groups, with tailor-made programmes to make children Internet wise, familiarise parents, computer illiterates and SMEs with the Internet, and devise an action plan to reach direct and indirect target groups.  

Sustainable chain management

We must set an example to encourage our partners (suppliers and sales channel) to develop their business in a sustainable manner, and must also devise an action plan with our partners for social and green initiatives.

Follow-up

The effort does not stop with the definition of a vision and strategy. A workgroup was set up per pillar in 2017 to develop the strategy further and to define and implement actions and projects according to the defined KPIs. These workgroups are composed from the staff and will be responsible for the further development and follow-up of the sustainability project in the coming years. One concrete action is the participation in the VOKA Sustainable Entrepreneurship Charter.  More information can be found here.

 

registrar

Is the entity that registers a domain name for a company, organization or person. Next to the “resale” of web addresses registrars can also offer hosting services, web design... 

DNS

Domain Name System or Domain Name Server. The global DNS is the system and protocol used on the internet to translate domain names into IP addresses and vice versa. 

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