Gert Bervoets, CEO H.Essers, cycles together with other Entrepreneurs Without Borders for a sustainable future

Gert Bervoets, CEO H.Essers, cycles together with other Entrepreneurs Without Borders for a sustainable future

Entrepreneurs ride 400 kilometres in Senegal in a bid to help fight desertification

From 22 January to 27 January 40 Belgian entrepreneurs will travel to Senegal. They do so on the initiative of the Belgian NGO Ondernemers Zonder Grenzen (Entrepreneurs Without Borders, OZG). With the Cycling for the Climate tour, which is organised for the first time, they want to draw the attention to global warming. “With these projects OZG focuses on sustainable change. The link with our company is not too difficult to see. After all, H.Essers is also extremely dedicated to sustainability,” says Gert Bervoets.

While you are reading this, 40 Belgian entrepreneurs, including Gert Bervoets, CEO of H.Essers, are getting ready for their first of four bike rides. Just for fun? Definitely not. Because through their participation in Cycling for the Climate, organised by the Belgian NGO Ondernemers Zonder Grenzen, they support the construction of the Great Green Wall, an immense green belt that will extend from the west of Africa, all the way to the east, in Djibouti. The idea is not only to fight desertification, but also to simultaneously contribute to better economic prosperity for the local population.

Sustainable change

Gert Bervoets did not hesitate for a second about his participation in Cycling for the Climate. “I think it’s only right that we should take responsibility in regions that need all the help they can get,” he explains. “And it’s nice to do this together with a lot of other like-minded entrepreneurs, in such a positive way.” OZG, an initiative of Werner Sels and Wim Jacobs has been bringing entrepreneurs together for charity since 2009,” according to the CEO. “With their projects, first in Burkina Faso and now in Senegal, they are not only trying to stop desertification, they are also creating an impact in many other areas. For example, they make profitable agriculture possible again, give children the chance to go to school, ensure better water management and more biodiversity, stimulate a micro-economy and give women more financial independence. It’s about so much more than planting; the NGO makes sustainable change possible for the local population.”

Also within H.Essers

“And that’s exactly what we’re trying to do within H.Essers,” he continues. “Creating sustainability for our people, for society and for the climate. Our corporate values Reliability, Care, Entrepreneurship, Positivism and Simplicity are therefore closely related to the five SDGs, the sustainability objectives set by the United Nations. We constantly test everything we do against these values and also set up new initiatives. This has already led, for example, to a large-scale health programme for our employees, but also to the construction of wind turbines and the use of alternative means of transport to reduce CO2 emissions.”

From Lac Rose to Bowde Doudal

“The participants, including many entrepreneurs as well as former weather presenter and climate expert Jill Peeters, will cycle some 400 kilometres in four days,” Werner Sels, chairman and co-founder of Entrepreneurs Without Borders, explains. “We will leave from Lac Rose and head for Bowde Doudal. Quite a challenge knowing the temperature will be 38°C, that’s for sure, but most of all confronting. Because while cycling we will be able to see with our own eyes what impact the climate disruption has on the environment. We organise various initiatives with our NGO every year, but it was Bob Verbeeck’s (Golazo) and Steven Buyse’s (CVC) idea to go to Senegal together. Cycling for the Climate is also the kick-off of a number of new reforestation projects in the region. This year we want to build 1,000 hectares. And thanks to the financial resources we have raised with Cycling for the Climate, that goal has been achieved.”