The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and Why Materialise Is On Board

3 min read

A group of hands raised and touching

Sustainability is more than a word for Materialise, it’s a pledge. Our mission to make the world a better and healthier place has been the defining factor of our company from the beginning, and it’s led us everywhere from medical 3D printing to social entrepreneurship support.

That’s why Materialise CEO Fried Vancraen represented the company to reaffirm our support for the Sustainable Developments Goals Charter at a roundtable meeting chaired by Her Majesty Queen Mathilde, the Queen of Belgium.

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, addressing social and economic development issues. Ranging from reducing inequality to industry, innovation, and infrastructure, the SDGs are a global blueprint for achieving a sustainable and inclusive future.

Graphic showing the global goals for sustainable development

The Queen of Belgium has been appointed as a Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocate by the United Nations. During this roundtable, H.M. the Queen emphasized the importance of an ambitious sustainable agenda within the Belgian private sector.

Materialise for a sustainable world

By signing the Belgian SDG Charter, Materialise committed to contributing our part in achieving the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In the panel discussion, we are proud to have been recognized as an exemplary company. As Fried Vancraen put it: "Although there is still a long way to go, I am very proud that Materialise is considered an exemplary company and recognized as a thought leader on this journey. The SDGs are a natural extension of the Materialise mission statement, encouraging us to further adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies and to report on their implementation."

At Materialise, we are continually searching for new ways to improve sustainability at several levels, both internally and externally. Whether it’s ensuring ethical employment practices and business processes or empowering meaningful applications of 3D printing, Materialise is committed to fostering sustainability both within and outside our walls.

We believe that sustainability should start right where we work. That’s why we have some initiatives in-house that will help us achieve these goals, including a Supplier Code of Conduct that holds our suppliers accountable to the same standards we expect from ourselves; an Environmental Management System; and Anti-Discrimination Hiring Policies; and more initiatives on the way.

Externally, we work with NGOs and other non-profit organizations through The Materialise Foundation. One example, our annual fundraising for the Benin Summer School, which grants scholarships to Beninese students with management potential, is very close to our heart.

Fried Vancraen with Her Majesty Queen Mathilde, the Queen of Belgium

Acknowledging the SDG charter is an important commitment for Materialise as a company. It means that we acknowledge the importance of our role in society, the interdependence between the private and public sectors, and the increasing need for all different actors in society to work together.

The endorsement of the charter also means that we will make concrete commitments toward advancing all the goals and we will make them an integral part of our own core business.

We are committing to the SDGs by seeking out expertise from and constructive dialogue with external partners to align efforts and ensure policy coherence. Our aim is for concrete and sustainable goals that contribute to a better and healthier world, always.

Her Majesty Queen Mathilde, the Queen of Belgium, leading a round-table discussion at an event

A commitment that makes us proud

Being part of this initiative is a commitment and also a great source of pride for us. The goals are challenging and the aim is high, but making the world a better and healthier place is the worthiest goal we can think of.

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