Valérie Alain, ENGIE’s Director of Institutional Relations France & Regions, explains how these initiatives came about:
“Our approach to the Covid-19 health crisis is guided by the concept of proximity. Instead of taking a national approach, we start from the local level, from needs expressed by our internal and external networks in the regions. What makes this an especially good approach is that situations in the face of the epidemic are not the same and are not on the same timelines: needs in Strasbourg in the east at the end of March are not the same as those in Marseilles in the south or Rennes in the west. Working on a regional level on a day-to-day basis develops a taste for teamwork and a capacity for promoting partnerships. The vast majority of projects that are created and developed locally have resulted from partnerships with several stakeholders, in the public and private sectors. But to handle a crisis of this kind, you have to be a collaborative player. This is how we also rely on the ENGIE Foundation. Finally, being a local partner requires you to work over the long term. The charitable acts that we have been carrying out since the crisis began also tell this story: we have been sponsoring cultural and sports events for several years in many regions and we immediately decided to transform these budgets into charitable actions to support the same local stakeholders. This was a quick and effective decision to take.”
During the early days, our efforts were focused on the urgency of purchasing equipment for hospitals (particularly ventilators), help for nurses (particularly packed meals), help for the most vulnerable people (the homeless, people with disabilities) and a mapping of initiatives, mobilizing local players to help to speed up responses.
Actions in the field
We have purchased health care equipment: several ventilators have been delivered to hospitals in a number of regions along with reusable facemasks, FFP2 masks and hand gel, as well as packed meals for nurses.
In addition to healthcare facilities, ENGIE teams are committed to helping relief organizations and companies that are offering their skills to caregivers. One example is the Bordeaux-based start-up medTandem, which trains general practitioners in lung ultrasounds through e-learning and short explanatory videos, ENGIE has assigned an engineer to the project free of charge. Through ENGIE Solutions, we are also playing a part in a project jointly run by Airbus and the University of Nantes which is attempting to manufacture respirators using 3D printers.
Virtually all of the French regions have already benefited from support from ENGIE. In all, 49 healthcare facilities, hospitals and nursing homes have received several hundred tablets for nurses thanks to the fund set up alongside the Hospitals of Paris-Hospitals of France Foundation.
Supporting the most needy members of society
“The Coronavirus pandemic is creating an unparalleled health situation and requires new forms of aid to be devised and an unprecedented effort. More than ever before, we have to share gestures of the heart and act in solidarity. The foundation should be a crucible for initiatives taken by entities and by individual employees,” says Philippe Peyrat, General Delegate of the ENGIE Foundation. “The crisis has been an opportunity to mobilize all the Group’s energies and to show the place of humanitarian action in its corporate culture.”
The homeless and people living in extreme poverty are among those most seriously affected by the current crisis, with no possibility of being confined and at a time when it is more difficult to organize volunteers. Faced with this emergency, to support the most fragile, the ENGIE Foundation has allocated an exceptional budget of €100,000 donated to the Samu Social de Paris, an NGO providing mobile emergency social aid, of which the Foundation has been a founding sponsor since 1995. You can also contribute by donating your meal vouchers to the Paris Samu Social. The Lille Samu Social has received supplies of basic necessities for the homeless.