Accelerate Business for Good – An unprecedented approach to co-constructing the economy of the future

Posted November 15, 2019, 12:08 PMUpdated October 11, 2021 at. 16:07

As an extension of the social and solidarity-based economy (ESS), the concept Business for Good denotes a business economic model that unites profitability and sustainable development. By placing societal and environmental issues at the heart of their strategy, these companies have integrated these goals into their business model, whether they are to reduce the carbon footprint, promote professional integration of people in difficulty, help reduce plastic waste or combat food waste. These initiatives meet a strong expectation from society towards companies. “They are considered to be in the best position to provide a lasting solution to collective challenges,” explains Antoine Sire, Director of Corporate Engagement at BNP Paribas. “The time has come for the transition to a more virtuous economy. And this economy will, above all, be run by companies and their employees. »

The legislator is well aware of this problem, as evidenced by the creation of a “mission-based company” status by the PACTE Act of May 2019, which calls on any company, regardless of its size and sector, to formulate its reason for be and its mission of general interest in its articles of association by involving its shareholders.

Banks, facilitators of change

At the crossroads between the various actors 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. “Today, in the face of the need for a social and ecological change that is becoming more and more urgent, it is natural that we contribute to the collective solution. At BNP Paribas, in 2011 we decided to stop being neutral and implement CSR policies, which in particular aim to reduce our funding for fossil fuels and increase renewable energy. “, he clarifies.

It is in this spirit, firmly rooted in the group’s DNA, that BNP Paribas launched the Accelerate Business for Good tour in collaboration with Les Echos Events to promote the emergence of a more sustainable and decidedly 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 committed actors, but also to understand their difficulties, identify their need to move forward, as well as the societal injunctions of their stakeholders, with the ultimate goal of speeding up the movement. Although the cities are driven by exemplary dynamics in terms of social and solidarity-based entrepreneurship, cities are also experiencing obstacles to the growth of their positive impact economy: shortage of skilled labor, high unemployment, pollution, inequalities, fragmentation of the SSE sector compared to the traditional economy… as many challenges as the Business for Good initiatives respond to.

Regional forums have been organized that combine start-up pitches, business case studies and co-creation time around major strategic areas of reflection. The spread of projects was there, just as the enthusiasm was there: “This mobilization of companies throughout France by their employees and by all citizens gave us a lot of energy”, assures Marguerite Bérard, director of French networks and member of the Executive. Committee for the BNP Paribas Group.

After the inventory, the action is lifted

These discussions and feedback gave rise to 18 mindsets grouped in 5 axes, from which everyone can draw inspiration in their journey towards a more responsible company: employee involvement, utilization of business opportunities related to the ecological transformation, development close ties to the regions, the company’s long-term viability and sustainable financing. A resolutely ambitious program.

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