CSR Annual Report 2022

Positive impact on the environment, society and the digital world

Welcome to DNS Belgium’s sustainability report for 2022.

As manager of the .be, .vlaanderen and .brussels domain names, DNS Belgium aims to be the leading IT organisation in Belgium in terms of sustainability. For us, sustainability covers a number of different areas: our ecological and environmental impact, as well as our social considerations and aspects of governance. Our primary mission is to serve the community in the digital domain, without pursuing profit. Preventing a negative impact on society and minimising any actual negative impact is strategically important to us. We seek to set an example for other companies and inspire them to include sustainability in their business strategies.

We have both long-term and short-term strategies in place for achieving best-in-class status as soon as possible. At the same time, we are also making sure that we have sufficient financial resources for achieving that goal. We defined our sustainability strategy back in 2016 and it serves as the basis for becoming the best. This report provides an overview of our efforts and achievements on sustainability over the past year.

One of our key initiatives is to actively reduce our carbon footprint. Any remaining emissions are then offset with other measures taken in Belgium and elsewhere. And we actively encourage our suppliers, partners and potential suppliers in the efforts made to reduce their own carbon footprint and address social and governance issues.

We are well aware that sustainability is not just a responsibility, but also an opportunity to make a positive impact. This is precisely why, in addition to our environmental efforts, we are involved in a whole range of programmes and projects, such as Digital For Youth and DigitAll. We use these initiatives to provide assistance for individuals and groups who benefit from fewer opportunities than the majority of our citizens. These programmes also aptly reflect our efforts to have a positive impact on society.

For us, it is crucial to keep the level of trust among Belgian users of the Internet as high as possible. For this reason, we continue to invest constantly in measures that increase the security of the Internet in Belgium, as well as in programmes for preventing and detecting fraud.

As a non-profit organisation in the digital sector, our strategic business objectives align harmoniously with our sustainability goals. This means that, apart from financial constraints, there are no major obstacles standing in the way of our pursuit of sustainability. DNS Belgium has set itself the goal of exceeding the minimum requirements set by governments and customers alike – and to do significantly more. That’s why we are involved in the Voka Charter for Sustainable Entrepreneurship (VCDO). In 2022, as a result of our years of successful participation in this programme, we were proud to be awarded the title of SDG Champion, which rewards our efforts to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. This recognition provides us with motivation to continue our work and further strengthen our efforts.

We fully expect that in the years ahead, all businesses will be required to demonstrate to their customers that they are making genuine efforts to offer products and services in a sustainable way. The biggest challenge for DNS Belgium in the future will be to motivate our partners, suppliers and colleagues in other countries to put as many sustainability initiatives in place as we do.

This sustainability report offers transparency about the efforts we have made and the results we have achieved. We are proud of what we have accomplished, but are also aware that there is still much more work to be done. We remain committed to sustainability and continue to seek new ways of making a positive impact on the environment, on society and on the digital world as a whole.

We invite you to read through this report. In doing so, you will discover more about our sustainability efforts in 2022 and our plans for the future. Together, we can create a more sustainable and inclusive world.

Philip Du Bois

General Manager DNS Belgium

Our achievements in 2022

SDG Champion

As a result of our efforts working with VOKA Vlaams Brabant, in 2020 DNS Belgium became one of the first Belgian companies to be awarded SDG Pioneer status. And in 2022, our social commitment was rewarded with a fifth VOKA Sustainable Business Charter (VCDO) in five years and the title of SDG Champion.

An SDG Champion contributes to systemic change on a global level with its sustainability policy. We are aiming to achieve real transition in terms of sustainability. An SDG Champion is required to set up programmes based on each of the 17 United Nations sustainability goals for three years. That’s quite a challenge for a small organisation such as ours.

Societal impact with Digital For Youth

In terms of SDGs, we achieved the greatest societal impact through our involvement in Digital For Youth. Just before Christmas 2022, the 20,000th laptop was dispatched from Digital For Youth. We collect these laptops from companies and other organisations and then redistribute them to youth groups via the King Baudouin Foundation. This is an area where we are able to make a substantial difference, both for young people and for the organisations themselves.

The laptops enable young people to do their schoolwork better or to find their way into the labour market more easily. Using the laptops, youth organisations are able to expand their service offerings and so reach a wider audience. The programme also gives them a better understanding of the needs and challenges facing their target audience.

Safer Internet browsing with Registrant Verification

In 2022, we continued the rollout of Registrant Verification. This programme gives us a fully automatic way of checking the data submitted by a domain name holder when registering a domain name. Because we carry out this verification before we even release the domain name, we are able to avoid domain names being registered with bad intentions. After all, cybercriminals usually use fake data when registering a domain name.

Through Registrant Verification, we verified up to 20% of all registrations each month in 2022.

In this CSR annual report, we provide an overview of all the actions we took in relation to sustainability in 2022. And in doing so, we follow the structure of our sustainability strategy. We report in accordance with GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) standards.  Using the reporting blocks below, you can read more about our achievements in 2022 for each main line of our sustainability strategy.

DNS Belgium communicates regularly about its sustainability efforts and initiatives. In doing so, we clearly state what impact we are having, what risks and opportunities are associated with these efforts and how we involve our stakeholders in the process.

Each year, we draw up an annual sustainability report in which we account for the results achieved during the previous year. In doing so, we also look at past reporting. There are no rectifications to be made to data reported previously. However, information about our sustainability initiatives is grouped on our website in a knowledge hub dealing with sustainable entrepreneurship. In doing so, we aim to make the information clearer and more accessible, thereby increasing the impact of our initiatives. We have grouped our 19 topics by main line of our sustainability strategy on the site.

This report was published in Leuven, on September 1st 2023. It is based on the sustainability strategy, the financial report and our participation and the audit report to the Voka Charter for Sustainable Entrepreneurship. In doing so, we are able to contribute to achieving SDG 12 (Responsible consumption and production), target 12.6 (Encourage companies to adopt sustainable practices and integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle). This report was drawn up during the period June-September 2023.

This CSR Annual Report and the Annual Financial Report are not consolidated into one report. The process for preparing the CSR annual report and the annual financial report is not simultaneous because they highlight different aspects of the organisation and require different data and information. The auditor’s report was submitted on 15th May 2023 by the company’s auditor. It was approved by the General Meeting on 28th June 2023 and published on 24 July 2023.

With this report, we support the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.