As climate change leads the list of today’s environmental issues, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives are more critical than ever. The world has taken notice with set plans to improve the state of the environment through voluntary and government-mandated actions. We recently spoke with Flore Cholley of Edenred to discuss CSR and how Edenred and CSI are fulfilling those initiatives.
Flore is the Worldwide ESG & Sustainable Development Director at Edenred. She shared insight into Edenred’s CSR goals, achievements to date, and plans to increase CSR awareness with clients and competitors.
The Global Importance of CSR
The effects of global warming are detrimental to the planet. To reduce the rapidly rising global warming rate, in 2015, the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC) adopted the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement, or Paris Climate Accords, is a collective plan of over 190 UNCCC parties to reduce carbon emissions by 45% – 50% by 2030. And to ultimately reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The European Union (EU), where Edenred is headquartered in Paris, set a net zero target. Edenred is working on reaching that goal with the help of Science-Based Target initiatives.
CSR can be implemented in several ways – environmental initiatives, charity work, ethical labor practices, and volunteer projects. Edenred’s CSR commitments are centered around people, improving quality of life, preserving the environment, and progress that creates value responsibly.
The Difference Between CSR and ESG and Why CSR is Gaining More Traction
Environmental Social Governance (ESG) is frequently referred to interchangeably with CSR. However, ESG is different in that it is a measurable assessment of a company’s sustainability actions. On the other hand, CSR represents a company’s voluntary plan or framework for sustainability and response to environmental and social issues. In simpler terms, CSR is important for business, while ESG is the KPI followed by investors.
The EU has established a mix of optional and mandatory CSR initiatives, which is how Edenred approaches CSR. “It is important to work on both aspects to have a real strategy with quantitative KPI,” said Flore.
Initially, CSR was seen as working in parallel with a business. But it is gaining more traction as it becomes part of the core of corporate strategy. There is an increasing expectation from clients, partners, suppliers, and employees around a business’ CSR initiatives. A large part of a company’s brand perception for potential employees, talent retention, and investors is based on having and reaching CSR goals.
As it increases client standards, CSR brings added value and is how Edenred wants to do business. Flore noted, “As a leader, we want to pave the way and create a positive dynamic in the market. And CSR is the right way for us to have that impact.”
Edenred’s CSR Progress and Next Steps
Edenred’s CSR policy, known as Ideal, began in 2017. Ideal is upheld by three pillars – People, Planet, and Progress. It aims to improve quality of life, preserve the environment, and create value ethically and responsibly. Using this system, Edenred has achieved a high level of CSR success.
Pillar I – People
Under the People Pillar of the Ideal CSR policy, Edenred has set an objective of having 40% of executive positions held by women by 2030. The company has nearly reached that important diversity goal, with women currently in 34% of executive roles.
Pillar II – Planet
The second pillar, Planet, is another area of CSR where Edenred has made significant progress. “We are proud to have joined the Science Based Target initiative and commit to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050,” Flore stated. So far, Edenred has reduced carbon emissions by 30%.
Flore continued, “It is challenging for a growing global company to reduce direct and indirect carbon emissions. But we’ve managed to make substantial gains by improving the energy efficiency and consumption in our buildings and data centers.”
This is just the first step. Flore explained, “Our suppliers represent 90% of Edenred’s carbon emissions. So, it is important to have our suppliers linked to energy consulting agencies to accelerate our ecosystem’s carbon emissions strategy even further.”
Pillar III – Progress
Edenred’s CSR policy has clear rules put in place for the third pillar, Progress. Progress represents ethics, governance, client satisfaction, and IT security.
“Independent certification allows us to have proof of our engagement in these areas. These certifications are critical as we venture to take advantage of our leadership position to promote sustainable food and mobility, two key areas of our services. As leaders in business and the communities we serve, we have the opportunity to support the transformation of consumer practices, which is very important to us,” Flore stated.
Edenred has attained notable success and received significant recognition for its CSR and ESG efforts.
- In 2021, the Edenred Group ranked in the top 5 companies for Industrial goods and services in the FTSE4Good index, showing its commitment to social and environmental responsibility.
- Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings, in March 2022, assigned Edenred an ESG (environmental, social, and governance) rating of 79/100. This score (11 points above the global average) is based on a rigorous assessment of the company’s management of long-term ESG risks.
- In September 2022, Edenred joined the Paris stock exchange’s Euronext CAC 40 ESG index, taking its place alongside other companies demonstrating outstanding ESG practices.
How Edenred and CSI Contributes to CSR
Edenred and CSI help clients with CSR initiatives by offering digital frictionless solutions that use less paper. Edenred’s payment solutions help reduce waste and pollution while contributing to conserving natural resources. CSI accomplishes that by automating 100% of the AP payment process using virtual cards, ACH, our proprietary B2B Payments Network, and ghost cards. CSI is an excellent example of a CSR strategy in terms of providing easier, low-carbon solutions and a great approach to consistently providing our clients with better solutions.
Through our CSR strategy, we have the opportunity to engage all of our stakeholders, including our clients, in this journey. The end goals of CSR are to coalesce economic progress along with social justice and environmental preservation. In this new agile ecosystem, we will be able to improve the positive impact we can have. And that’s what we want to bring to all our clients and the planet.
Flore closed with, “We’re proud to be a part of the Edenred portfolio as CSR remains top of mind in the coming years. We can only hope that our commitment and efforts inspire other companies and executive teams to prioritize CSR as we continue to build a better future for the world.”
Corporate Spending Innovations (CSI) is a global FinTech leader providing innovative payment solutions to world-leading brands across all industries. CSI automates and digitizes B2B payments with a safe and highly secure cloud-based payments platform. For a more efficient way to manage payables, including virtual credit card, B2B Payments Network, ACH, and check, book a demo here.
CSI is a an Edenred Company, the global leader in payment solutions for the working world.