Article published mars 14 on LinkedIn

Anne Chassagnette

In its PACTE consultation initiative (Online Consultation on Transforming the French Economy and Growing Business in France) announced last October, the French government set out its vision that companies should embrace corporate social responsibility and sustainability for growth.

The social purpose of companies is now central not only to internal considerations, but also a political concern, as the review submitted to government by Nicole Notat and Jean-Dominique Sénard clearly highlights. Their recommendations will undoubtedly result in a necessary reassessment of the role played by companies and their stance in relation to a series of social problems that now demand an urgent and effective response.

ENGIE embraces a contemporary and committed vision consistent with total integration of sustainable development issues into its activities to the point where these become powerful drivers for business. The first necessity is to control the risks inherent to running an industrial business and to maintaining the Group’s License to Operate. On the other hand, full integration of CSR into the strategic vision of ENGIE makes it possible to seize a very real corporate positioning opportunity via commercial offerings that respond effectively to today’s environmental and social challenges. The Group is distinctive for its environmental footprint reduction strategy - especially in terms of carbon exposure - and its ambitious non-financial targets.

Although it is essential that economic, environmental and social considerations provide a unifying corporate thread, regardless of industry sector, the social role and purpose of companies must be the focus for careful consideration by major corporates. Their size, international presence and breadth of resources impose such a responsibility on these large-scale organizations.

Now is the time to build a new corporate model: companies whose interests extend beyond solely their own benefit to embrace a much broader role within society and which make a positive contribution to its development.

ENGIE is therefore leveraging its expertise as an industry leader to directly address those social issues related to its own specialist skills. The Rassembleurs d’Energies investment fund is an excellent example: with €21 million invested to date (including €5 million in 2017) and 2,400,000 people around the world supplied with sustainable energy, the Group has been committed to promoting access to energy and reducing energy poverty for struggling communities since 2011.

The considerations surrounding the place of the company in society is a key theme of its ambitious CSR policy, and one that is central to its business activities. Companies must coexist with their times. They must not be entities apart, cut off from society and its problems, and therefore incapable of responding to its needs. So ENGIE focuses on the relationship between company and society through a process of intensive dialog with its stakeholders. That commitment is reflected in its ambitious target of engaging in dialog and consultation regarding 100% of its industrial activities between now and 2020.

In this way, the Group is seeking to contribute to national and regional harmony on the basis of co-constructing industrial activities alongside all stakeholders, as it already does under its partnerships with Emmaüs, Surfrider, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and France Nature Environnement. This involves reaching out to interact and collaborate with stakeholders that analyze society from different perspectives in order to create a community with the ability to share expertise in truly effective ways. In such an arrangement, ENGIE can make effective use of its status as an energy expert, while its partners from the wider society can share their expertise on social issues. This win-win partnership is central to the strategy of the Group, which has for many years already encouraged and promoted the commitment of its people, who are acutely aware of social issues and fully capable of contributing a new dimension to ENGIE business activities.

As a result, it is now important that we structure our industry and our contribution to lead by example in this process of company transformation. So, to illustrate, publication of the Group’s financial results on March 8 this year was accompanied by information about the progress we have made to date in achieving our CSR goals. To be noted a 18% reduction in GHG emission ratio for energy production achieved in 2017!