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  • Bredhill Consulting

Interview with Antoine Peyrel, Founding Partner of Bredhill

Décideurs Magazine

Decision-makers. What does CSR mean for companies?

Antoine Peyrel. About ten years ago, CSR was essentially about the environment. Companies acted in a way that was not directly related to their business: consume less paper, join an association. The social aspect was initially linked to psycho-social risks, following the wave of suicides at France Telecom. Then came the question of gender equality, which started out as a simple obligation of means, and has now become an obligation of result. CSR is following the same path and companies have started to think in terms of CSR, both with regard to their customers and their employees. For example, a bank is going to grant specific credits at a subsidized rate for energy renovations in buildings, whether for individuals or companies. On the social side, CSR promises are appearing that go beyond the business, notably to fight against poverty or obesity.

What can be problematic about this approach?

The problem is that there is no standardized reference framework, unlike responsible investment, for which there is a taxonomy. The difficulty for companies is therefore knowing how to translate their CSR commitments into concrete actions. At the company level, we can change the electricity contract to use green electricity or reduce the storage of e-mail boxes. At the employee level, we can help with mobility.

But how can we measure all this?

In the case of mobility, today we can't tell if the employee comes by car, bike or metro. This new data will therefore have to be collected and recorded. Then it will be necessary to show that the objectives have been reached, because today we are in a world where everything the company says in its communication must be proven and demonstrated. Another example: responsible digital technology will consist of integrating the responsible design of equipment, its life cycle and its carbon footprint. It will therefore be necessary to create indicators that will be listed in a performance dashboard to link them to what has been said in terms of CSR commitments. What will motivate this audit trail is not the regulations, which are not yet ready, but the NGOs that monitor what companies say, as well as employees and shareholders.

What does the future hold?

Today, CSR simply obliges companies to commit themselves and say what they are doing, but they can make whatever responsible commitments they want, except for gender equality, since the regulation obliges them to detail the measures taken and to publish the differences in salary. But this is just the beginning. In the next 3 to 5 years, we will be looking more and more closely at what companies are doing and we will be asking them to be accountable. For the moment, strategic plans are usually made for 3 years, with commitments that are not always quantified. The future will require more CSR data in information systems, with performance and commitment indicators. Regulations will evolve to require the publication of information.

Is CSR changing products and services?

There are fintechs that are trying to make banks 100% green, for example with bank cards that calculate the CO2 footprint of items purchased, and then offer to compensate by paying amounts to associations or by investing in sustainable projects. This can change the way we consume. These start-ups are being created because there are more and more consumers interested in these issues, and among them, those that work will be bought by the major banking groups. Their approach will become a standard practice.


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