Business and Economics

Why sustainability is inevitable

Business Update Session

(Last updated 24 March 2021) 

Taking into account the new measures that were implemented by our government on 24 March 2021, we decided to host the Business Update session on Thursday 29 April 2021 online. Sadly, we will not be able to welcome you on campus as we had hoped but we will be sure to create plenty of network opportunities as soon as we can do so in a safe manner. 

For now, we will focus on the keynote lectures and we will be streaming the entire event live from our campus. The programme remains unchanged and you do not need to reregister. 

The event

In this new year and decade, sustainability will continue to be essential for organisations both big and small. It touches every part of a company: from supply chain, to financial services, to the physical workspace itself. Ethically minded consumers are demanding all industries to make significant strides in this field.  But how do you and your business go about it, especially in times of a global pandemic.

To answer that question, the University of Antwerp organises the event 'Why Sustainability is inevitable' on Thursday 29 April 2021. Find out more about the Antwerp Partnership for Sustainability and Sustalab and get inspired by keynote lectures.

This event is organised for students, alumni, staff members of the University of Antwerp and for business professionals with an interest in corporate sustainability. Registration is required.


6.00 pm
6.15 pm
by Prof. Hans Verboven (UAntwerp)
6.30 pm
by Karen Bens (Business Controller Sustainability at Atlas Copco) 
7.00 pm
by Astrid Van Parys (CSR manager at Colruyt Group)
7.30 pm
The role of the university towards sustainability solutions
by Vice-rector Prof. Silvia Lenaerts about Antwerp Partnership for Sustainability
7.45 pm
by Dean Koen Vandenbempt (UAntwerp)
8.00 pm
End of the event

Keynote speakers

Silvia Lenaerts

Silvia Lenaerts is Vice rector Valorisation & Development at the University of Antwerp. She acquired her PhD in Chemistry at IMEC and KULeuven on gas sensors. Formerly she was in charge of the gas sensor development at Heraeus Sensor-Nite and at Seghers Better Technology. She has also been working as lead assessor at Lloyd’s Register of Shipping. She continued as a pioneer by founding the research group DuEL, Sustainable Energy, Air and Water Technology, part of the Department of Bioscience Engineering at the University of Antwerp. DuEL focuses on photocatalysis, the conversion of photo-energy to chemical or electrical energy and circular air and water technology.

As Vice rector Valorisation & Development she connects the academic world to the business world. She strives towards the implementation of research results into society and vice versa translating the big challenges in society into research projects. We want to bridge the gap by initiating open innovation hubs on priority domains, such as renewable energy and sustainable chemistry.

Prof. Hans Verboven

Hans Verboven is a part-time professor at the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Antwerp. His research focuses on pragmatic methodologies for strategy- and change tracks, but also on optimalisation-effects of sustainability, efficiency gains and 'soft' values within an organisation. Hans is the founder of Sustatool, the Flemish generic standaard for sustainable management. Currently, the tool is being developed further towards social economie, construction, healthcare and the food industrie.

Besides that, as an advisor (among others via Sustacon and EY Sustainability Advisory Services), he has been guiding companies in the fields of sustainability, innovation and organisational development. In 2019, he founded Sustalab, a dynamic collective of senior students and young alumni that assists companies in business model innovation.

Karen Bens

Karen Bens is Business Controller Sustainability for Atlas Copco Compressor Technique worldwide. Driven by the passion for a sustainable lifestyle in all aspects of life and business, she took on this role 5 years ago. Before this, she gathered a lot of experience as an auditor for Deloitte, Business analyst for Christian Salvesen and several more operational roles within Atlas Copco as a purchaser, logistics engineer, continuous improvement engineer etc.

Karen graduated from UAntwerp in 2004 as a commercial engineer in international economic and diplomatic relations. This macro-economic angle is still found in the way she approaches the new challenges of today: climate change and all business transformations that come along with it. The world is after all a small and fragile place.

Astrid Van Parys

Astrid Van Parys is CSR Manager and head of the sustainability team at Colruyt Group. Colruyt Group is one of the Belgian ambassadors of the UN sustainability goals.  For Colruyt Group, Astrid is also in the Voard of Directors of CIFAL Flanders, the UN centre of expertise on the SDGs offering trainings, project development and coaching.