Now that we have kicked off the new year, I would like to take some time to look back on the past twelve months. 2023 was an amazing, dynamic year, full of growth and important steps forward for LCL.

Expansion in Aalst and an athletic alliance

The year started off with a challenge that was successfully completed. In February, we proudly finalized the construction of our new data center in Aalst. This impressive achievement was the result of a powerful team effort, which not only resulted in physical expansion, but we also showed that we strongly believe in progress with the help of technology.

Soon afterwards, we announced our exceptional collaboration with the Borlée brothers, three extraordinary sportsmen, now already in full preparation for the upcoming athletic year. We are impressed by their drive and ambition, values that are also a central part of our mission. The goal of this partnership is to support the brothers Borlée on the road to yet another athletic achievement, so they can inspire so many others.

The Borlée-brothers with some of the LCL team
The Borlée-brothers with some of the LCL team

Our first ESG report

One of our most remarkable milestones this past year was the publication of our very first ESG report. We started creating and implementing our ESG strategy in 2022, which resulted in concrete KPI’s for 2023. Sustainability is not only about Environmental (E) aspects, but also relates to Social (S) and Governance (G) aspects of our organisation. This report goes beyond a checklist, it’s the result of a lengthy effort that everyone at LCL proudly supports. Our clearly defined targets, such as climate neutrality by 2030, reduced CO2 emissions and other green energy initiatives; show that sustainability is not a one-off for us, but an ongoing commitment that we can build on.

On that note: in 2023, we further proved that we walk the talk. We made tangible progress by installing new solar panels and charging stations, actively reducing our carbon footprint. On top of that, we have created unique partnerships with charities like Close the Gap, Oxfam, SOS Kinderdorpen/SOS Villages d’Enfants and (W)onderweg, among others, taking on a broader social responsibility. We specifically select partnerships that are active and visible in the world around us. For example, LCL’s gardens are beautifully maintained by ViTeS, a local social employment enterprise.

More growth and diversity

Despite the challenge of finding suitable profiles for our vacancies, we welcomed quite a few new team members in 2023. Our organisation is not only growing, it is also becoming more diverse. For instance, with the creation of our Board of Directors, we aimed for – and achieved – an equal divide between men and women, while also successfully striving for more diversity in operational positions. This is a conscious choice that contributes to an inclusive and balanced working environment.

Sheep grazing in front of solar panels

Operational challenges and customer satisfaction

This past July, our Antwerp data center was hit by a power failure in the distribution network that lasted as long as 23 hours. Despite the power outage, we seamlessly switched to our emergency generators, thanks to our staff’s excellent follow-up. In the end, no interruption was detected in LCL’s service – while 2500 other businesses in the area were left without power. That is confirmation of how reliable our services are. Despite operational hurdles like this one, we achieved good results in our customer performance report, with an impressive NPS score of 53.

Global trends and a sneak peek at 2024

As worldwide events – the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, for instance – influence the macroeconomic environment, we remain alert to their impact on our sector. A tangible consequence of such conflicts is inflation, for example, which leads to higher energy prices, among other things. This underlines why our sustainability mission is so important. Companies need to become increasingly self-sufficient when it comes to energy, to better manage the impact of global change.

The rise of AI, with the growing popularity of ChatGPT, is transforming the playing field for data centers. These technologies increase the demand for data processing and have a significant impact on data center energy consumption. Although innovations like liquid cooling are not strongly present yet, it is essential that our industry prepares for these changing dynamics. The most important question is simply: how can we use energy even more efficiently?

While we look back on 2023, we also look ahead at 2024. There are some interesting developments on the agenda; including further solidifying our partnership with EcoVadis to build on our sustainability ambitions, the launch of our new customer portal and other innovations that will strongly improve our customer experience.

In summary: 2023 was a year of continuous growth, intense challenges, and wonderful collaborations. Sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to the success of LCL. I am immensely excited about what the future holds.

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