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

Created November 15, 2019, 12:08 p.mUpdated on 11 October 2021 at 16:07

As an extension of the social and solidarity economy (ESS), the concept Business for Good denotes a business economic model that combines profitability and sustainable development. By placing social and environmental issues at the heart of their strategy, these companies have integrated these goals into their business model, whether to reduce the carbon footprint, promote the professional integration of people in difficulty, contribute to reducing plastic waste or fight against 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 driven by companies and their employees. »

The legislature 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 every company, regardless of its size and sector, to articulate its reason for to be and its mission of general interest in its articles of association by involving its shareholders.

Banks, facilitators of change

At the intersection 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. “Today, faced with the need for a social and ecological transition that is becoming more and more urgent, it is natural that we contribute to the collective solution. At BNP Paribas, we decided in 2011 to no longer be neutral and to implement CSR policies which aim in particular to reduce our financing of 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 engaged actors, but also to understand their difficulties, identify their needs to move forward, as well as the societal imperatives of their stakeholders, with the ultimate goal of accelerating the movement. Although driven by an exemplary dynamism in terms of social and solidarity entrepreneurship, the cities also experience obstacles to the growth of their positive impact economy: lack of skilled labor, high unemployment, pollution, inequalities, division of the SSE sector compared to the traditional economy… so many challenges that 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 large strategic areas of reflection. The proliferation of projects was there and so was the enthusiasm: “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 of BNP Paribas Group.

After the calculation, the action is lifted

These discussions and feedback gave rise to 18 lines of thought grouped into 5 axes from which everyone can draw inspiration in their journey towards a more responsible company: employee involvement, exploitation of business opportunities linked to the ecological transition, development of close ties to the regions, the company’s long-term justification for existence and sustainable financing. A resolutely ambitious program.

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