Posted on 15 Nov. 2019, 12:08Updated on Oct 11, 2021 at 4:07 PM
As an extension of the social and solidarity economy (ESS), the Business for Good concept denotes a business model that reconciles profitability and sustainable development. By putting social and environmental issues at the heart of their strategy, these companies have integrated these objectives into their business model, whether it be reducing the environmental footprint, promoting the professional integration of those in difficulty, helping to reduce plastic waste or fighting against food waste. These initiatives respond to a strong social expectation of companies. “They are considered to be in the best position to provide a sustainable solution to collective challenges,” explains Antoine Sire, Director of Corporate Engagement at BNP Paribas. “It is time for the transition to a more virtuous economy. And this economy will mainly be driven by companies and their employees. †
The legislator is well aware of this issue, as evidenced by the creation of a “mission-based company” status by the PACTE law of May 2019 that invites any company, regardless of its size and sector, for its reason of existence and its mission of general interest in its articles of association, by involving its shareholders.
Banks, facilitators of change
At the crossroads of the various players in the economy, banks are ideally placed to lead this change head-on and act as the driving force behind the acceleration of Business for Good. “The natural role of banks is to support transitions,” recalls Antoine Sire. “Nowadays, faced with the need for an increasingly urgent social and environmental transition, it goes without saying that we contribute to the collective solution. At BNP Paribas, we decided in 2011 to no longer be neutral and to pursue a CSR policy, focusing in particular on reducing our financing from fossil fuels and increasing that from renewable energy sources. ‘ he specifies.
It is in this spirit, firmly anchored in the DNA of the Group, that BNP Paribas launched the Accelerate Business for Good tour, in partnership with Les Echos Events, to promote the emergence of a more sustainable and certainly more sustainable economy.
Five cities, one ambition
Between December 2018 and October 2019, the teams stopped in 5 French cities – Strasbourg, Aix-Marseille, Lyon, Paris and Bordeaux – to meet companies and associations with a virtuous and sustainable business model. The ambition: to highlight the successes of these involved actors, but also understand their difficulties, identify their needs to move forward, as well as the societal imperatives of their stakeholders, with the ultimate aim of accelerating the movement. Although driven by exemplary social and solidarity-based entrepreneurship dynamics, cities also face barriers to the growth of their economies with a positive impact: lack of skilled labour, high unemployment, pollution, inequalities, compartmentalization of the SSE sector compared to the traditional economy… so many challenges that the Business for Good initiatives are addressing.
Regional forums have been organised, combining start-up pitches, business case studies and co-creation time around key strategic areas of reflection. The proliferation of projects was there, as was the enthusiasm: “This mobilization of companies, all over France, of their employees and of all citizens gave us a lot of energy”, assures Marguerite Bérard, director of French networks and member of the Executive Committee of the BNP Paribas Group.
After the inventory, the action levers
These discussions and feedback led to 18 lines of thought, grouped in 5 axes, from which everyone can draw inspiration in their journey towards a more responsible company: employee engagement, seizing business opportunities related to the ecological transition, developing close ties with the regions, the raison d’être of the company in the long term and sustainable financing. A resolutely ambitious programme.