CSR policy: A logical strategy


by Nicholas Monier

In a tense economic context marked by the conflict in Ukraine, the explosion in the price of energy costs is now under scrutiny. In general, the current crisis is accelerating in CSR issues, as in driving during a pandemic. Against the wall and by force of circumstance, some more advanced brands than others take on this theme.

No more options! Faced with a tense geopolitical situation, brands are now trying to shift lines. Especially about these CSR concepts that are making more and more sense. Among our compatriots who pay more attention to the behavior of brands from an economic point of view. In this area, we remember that the Ecomiam brand implemented its carbon footprint a few months ago. First observation: brand emits 7,9 tons of CO2 per store per year. This equates to 34 kg of CO2 per square meter of sales. Faced with this observation, a frozen food specialist wants to go further in reducing packaging. “We experimented with reducing the thickness of plastic packaging in one product. This test has been concluded and we intend to extend this approach to all products from this supplier, which is most important to us. This will reduce packaging by 16%, i.e. 1 ton per year.”, Pierre Fraignac, deputy general manager of the brand, explained to us. At the Les Fromentiers chain of bakeries, we have made this a priority:

“We’ve just changed all our packaging to match, optimize volumes and make recycling easier”Note Nicholas Escoin, brand development and marketing manager.

Always recycle at Papilles & Papillotes gourmet grocery store, where glass jars are recovered, washed and recycled. “Frankly, it has been a long time since we started this process. All our metal cans are automatically recycled as they are made from tin. Today, everything about packaging, zero waste or reusing a certain number of items is in place, because it is an integral part of our development strategy.”Damien Vergnault, founding president of the Papilles & Papillotes brand, explains.

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Energy account

In the context of rising energy costs, especially in the bakery trade, the Les Fromentiers brand supports its franchisees to minimize this impact. “We have integrated associations that will negotiate various electricity tariffs on the best terms. The fact of gathering in one place allows to gain more weight in negotiations on energy contracts., continues Nicolas Escoin. Same observation at Basilic & Co, whose restaurants are equipped with both electric and wood-fired pizza ovens. “For now, wood remains an interesting source of energy, but tomorrow it may be less interesting than electricity.” Therefore, we monitor these issues on a daily basis.”comments Basilic & Co marketing manager Cyril Gervais, the restaurant’s electricity contracts are all green energy. “This was the brand’s dream long before the energy problems. In addition, we support our franchisees on a case-by-case basis for contract termination or renewal in these difficult matters. Also, if we understand that in material transitions, for example, an electric stove consumes a lot of energy., Cyril Gervais notes that the new restaurant has been redesigned with recycled materials. But even though these energy issues are in the news today, they are not the only issues. CSR is also for corporate social responsibility. Now more and more brands care about the working conditions of their employees and encourage their franchisees to do the same. More so in sectors facing problems in recruiting and retaining workers.

“We try to give our employees more flexibility and visibility by offering them a three- to four-day week with rotating shifts.”noted Cyril Gervais.

Employee welfare

And the Basilic & Co marketing manager continues: “In our pilot facilities, we are continuously testing openings. This allows us to have a large time amplitude. We leave the choice to our teams to start on Friday as much as possible, or to work Monday to Thursday or Friday for people with a tighter family life, or three days at the weekend. Always society in Papilles & Papillotes, where this dimension is of particular importance. “All our packaging is done by one company Esat [établissements et services d’aide par le travail] internal to our company. We have about thirty disabled people who are engaged in these activities. We also work with the penitentiary. The social dimension has always been important in the brand”, says Damien Vergnault. But there’s only one step that some, from brands to franchisees, go through without difficulty. This is the work of Franck Guyon, who is very involved with the pet store specialist chain Tom&Co. It is important for a manager to emphasize the social aspect within his store, in addition to working on regular selective sorting, short cycles. When I reach the average basket, I have established a system of rewards and bonuses for my employees according to the general goal of turnover. Also personal bonus on personal sales. And adds: “In addition to giving them food coupons, I also decidedé to outsource the works council. For five years here in Amiens, there has never been a turnover of employees in my shop.

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Convince franchisees

Brands also want to get their franchisees on board. Thus, in 2009, the La Mie Câline network began to reflect these questions. Then, in 2019, the “Heart for Action” strategy was implemented.“We offer our franchisees the opportunity to be verified with the Responsible Trade Label offered by the Responsible Generation collective based on ISO 26000. [le premier standard international en matière de RSE]. This audit allows them to better visualize the priority issues they need to work on to develop their CSR activities through a specific action plan.Silvia Touboulic Barreteau, Deputy Managing Director and Head of Development and CSR Strategy at La Mie Câline explains. This audit is paid from the state license fee budget.vsreduces business and marketing by 2%, so it doesn’t cost them more than starting the process.” During the November 2021 report, managers were also pleased that approximately 17% of franchisees were former headquarters employees or had worked with franchisees.

“This is really interesting information because our own franchisees are ready to grow their staff”underlined, then Sylvia Touboulic Barreteau.

The same observation for Hotel Akena chain. If the head of the chain is concerned with environmental issues, he tries to involve his franchisees in the process by creating hotels that are close to neutral in order to limit the carbon footprint as much as possible. “We discuss it at various meetings and congresses. We put points in dozens of video conferences to reveal opinions. Moreover, we are preparing to create a debate dedicated to these topics and new standards during our next convention.”, mentions Mark Plisson, the brand’s general manager. Attract and motivate franchisees. This is the key. Similarly, many brands invite their partners to source locally. More and more brands are trying to implement a strict policy on this and attract their franchisees. “We are fortunate that we have a cannery with more than 50% of raw materials less than 80 kilometers around the company.Highlights Damien Vergnault for Papilles & Papillotes. Our gourmet grocery concept has a selection of products that depends on our partners. The latter can thus, and we encourage them to go ultra-local to promote short circuits. Franchisees became aware of these concepts promoted by the network leader. “In my store, 90% of the products come from Hauts-de-France. One of my suppliers works on a nearby farm. In the summer, I sell my cousin’s chickens or hay from a neighboring farmer,” notes Tom&Co franchisee Frank Guyon. And concludes: “The franchisor also gives us carte blanche not to refer. That is, 2% of our turnover as a franchisee can be used to purchase products from another organization unknown to the group, but representing the interests of the store. As we can see, CSR is now part of the strategy of retailers whose survival depends in part on these concepts, which are even more important today. Both from a financial point of view, through the savings it generates, if we fund ourselves through the necessary investments, but also from a societal point of view, by integrating the well-being of employees as a unique element. proper functioning of the brand.

article prepared in collaboration with Valentin Puaux.

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