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Ethias Insurance-creator of the first Joint Committee on Ethics in Belgium

1. Organizational Governance

Strategy and organization


Ethias - former Public Administration Mutual Fund Company - founded in Liege (Belgium) in 1919. Government Insurer, Ethias is the third Belgian insurer and a pioneer in social responsibility.

In 2003, Ethias was the first company to seek and obtain the Social Label awarded by the Belgian government (2003-2009). This public label, whose specifications are audited annually by the public authorities, devotes an entire product or service which fully respects the fundamental principles of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The specifications of the label imposed the establishment of an action plan linked to corporate social responsibility.


- Have within the company a key player in corporate governance, ethics and guidance for social responsibility.

- Develop a formal body to balance vision of management and staff of the company.


In order to support societal measures implemented as part of obtaining the Social Label, the direction of Ethias decided to establish a Joint and National Ethics Committee, a first in Belgium. Since its inception in 2003, the internal committee supports social, societal and environmental measures in constructive and rewarding joint committee discussions.

Composition of the Committee:

- An equal number of representatives of management and employees (trade unions) - 16 people in total - sit on this body for opinions and advice. The direction appoints its members, unions offer their delegates based on the result of the social elections (respect for trends in the company).

- Language parity is also respected among colleagues from different linguistic communities.

Operation / missions under responsibility / types of decisions:

- The Committee meets at least two times a year, and more if necessary.

- Primary responsibilities accompanying multi-year plans of CSR, control the conditions for granting the label and suggesting avenues for development of innovation and societal sustainability.


- Loyalty of employees: in an internal survey conducted in 2009 at the height of the crisis, 71% of employees overwhelmingly supported the values ​​promoted by the company, highlighting their commitment to Ethias.

- Many other indirect benefits. On the environment, the measures recommended by the Ethics Committee allowed Ethias to decrease its carbon footprint by 37%, or 5 times more than the Kyoto targets in 5 times less time. In terms of turnover of staff, Ethias maintained at 1.5% since the introduction of social measures.


- A permanent and constructive and valuable dialogue between staff and management.

- Climate of social peace in the company strengthened by improving the quality of relationships

- The establishment of two five-year CSR plans has positioned Ethias as a partner for sustainable development, especially among its policyholders from the public authorities.

26 millions €


Gaëtan SMETS, Speaker au World Forum Lille 2011

Mise à jour le 24/05/2016

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