Social impact

Research & social audits

Forum Ethibel’s activities consist of three main pillars: ‘Trendsetter’, ‘Tailor-made support’ and ‘Social embedding’. The third pillar reflects our goal of creating social added value and contributing to society.

We achieve this by carrying out research and studies on the one hand, and organising social audits on the other.  

Social audits

One of the tasks of Forum Ethibel is to carry out social audits to determine the social impact of an organization. In the same way as a financial audit demonstrates the financial health of a company, a social audit indicates its social-ethical health.

A social audit is a process initiating a dialogue between a company and its stakeholders. The dialogue examines the extent to which a company meets its mission and the expectations of its shareholders. Therefore, social audits are an excellent combination of hard, quantitative data in conjunction with dialogue and the vision of the parties involved. 


Forum Ethibel carries out annual social audits on behalf of Ressources: the Federation of Enterprises in the Social Economy (SEC).

Ressources developed Solid’R, which is an ethical label for social economy organizations that are active in the recycling, collection and sale of second-hand textiles and goods and that voluntarily respect certain ethical and solidarity principles. The label’s purpose is to distinguish these players from private players in the reuse and recycling market. 

In 2018, the Belgian label was raised to a European level. Since then, the seventeen organisations that have been awarded the label have been supplemented by six new members.


The domain of sustainable investment is still very much in development. Lack of information and understanding appear to be some of the main reasons why (stronger) growth in sustainable investment is prevented. This fact, together with our aim to create more transparency in the financial market, drives us to conduct research and to map market developments. In this way, we aim to increase support for socially responsible investment (SRI), to develop guidelines, and to promote and facilitate SRI. 

In first instance, Forum Ethibel contributes yearly to the Flanders Environmental Report. MIRA is the abbreviation for Milieurapport Vlaanderen, which is a report coordinated by the Flemish Environment Agency and ensures the scientific basis for environmental policy planning. Different domains are analysed externally, the results of which come together and are made public via the MIRA research reports.

Since 2001, Forum Ethibel has been appointed to draw up an annual report on ‘Sustainable Saving and Investing’ - part of MIRA. Since 2017, we have been working with the University of Antwerp (UA) on this subject. 

This report consists of two parts:

  • ‘Sustainable saving and investing in Belgium’: statistics and concrete figures. 
  • ‘Insight into sustainable investments’: description of trends and developments within SRI, emerging issues, and interviews with key figures on the market.

In 2021, the collaboraton with the Flemish Environmental Society came to an end and the Federal Insitute for sustainable Development took over its role. The name 'MIRA' study was simultaneously renamed ERSIS: Ethibel Research on Sustainable Investment and Savings. 

* Exceptionally, no MIRA study was published in 2017. However, statistics were kept which can be found on the MIRA website.  

Publications - Sustainable saving and investing in Belgium

Previous studies

Ad hoc assignments

Besides MIRA, Forum Ethibel carries out several ad hoc assignments. We receive requests from different parties. They include research assignments, assessment assignments, training assignments and requests for methodological advice. Examples of some of the assignments that Forum Ethibel has carried out in recent years can be found below.

Research assignments

Assessment assignments

The Shift
Study on climate change and (dis)investments in fossil fuels. This study resulted in a learning network with institutional investors, which was developed in 2018, and focused on actively promoting and supporting climate-friendly investments.

Award for Best Belgian Sustainability Report
This is an award for companies and other entities that, in addition to financial and economic information, also report transparently on welfare aspects and their environmental impact. It is organised by the Institute of Auditors and The Shift; Forum Ethibel is a member of the jury.

Training assignments

Methodological advice

Within the framework of the Ethical Banking Learning Program, Forum Ethibel contributed to several information sessions on sustainable finance for cities and municipalities. We offered tools to work with ethical investments, to organise this transparently, to reconcile return and social added value, …

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Forum Ethibel developed training courses on sustainable financing for local authorities. The sessions highlighted the sustainable and financial choices of cities and municipalities and the possibilities for sustainable investments.

Participation Society Flanders (PMV)
Research into the SRI content of the treasury portfolio:
PMV mapped out the social added value of its investments and developed a framework for different departments of the company, taking into account the 3 P's (People, Planet, Profit) and good governance. This exercise requires a qualitative approach and, consequently, a high level for commitment on the employees’ side. Forum Ethibel was involved in looking for balance between a clearly defined process & frame of reference and the employees’ commitment.