Citizen act memo_communication_va


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Citizen act memo_communication_va

  1. 1. MEMO – SUSTAINABILITY, INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL COMMUNICATION CITIZEN ACT – season 2011-2012 Developed and written by CCMP (Centrale de Cas et de Médias Pédagogiques) and Olivier DELBARD, Professor of social sciences at ESCP Europe
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION <ul><li>Whereas one may regret that for some companies CSR and sustainability are barely more than a P.R. requirement aimed at ‘ greening ’ their image (with the impending risks of greenwashing), it is important to stress how crucial communication is in the implementation of CSR and sustainability strategies and policies within organisations, first and foremost with respect to the employees of course. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>However, a clear distinction needs to be made between internal communication on the one hand – that plays a key role in promoting and spreading values, practices and processes inside the company - and external communication on the other hand - whose purpose is for the company to send a message to society as a whole. Concerning the banking industry, this type of communication is obviously of utmost importance in times of major financial crises. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Internal and external communication on CSR and sustainability make it possible for the company to explain its policy to its employees (internally) and to the general public (externally) by focusing on overall coherence, commitments and the changes incurred. Indeed, communication should be directly linked to the actions taken and measures implemented. </li></ul>CITIZEN ACT – season 2011-2012
  4. 4. INTRODUCTION <ul><li>Regarding Société Générale, CSR and sustainability commitments are communicated at all levels. In order to enhance the Group ’ s CSR approach, the CSR and sustainability Department has designed several employee awareness-raising tools for various activities, also providing employees with innovative tools enabling them to train and endorse CSR and sustainability practices (e-learning training modules adapted to different functions and jobs, RPS - Responsibility Performance Survey, a self-evaluation tool, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>In October 2009, a “ CSR Communication Charter ” was given to the 600 communication staff members aiming to enhance the overall coherence in terms of internal and external communication as well as to fight greenwashing risks. The Charter highlights some key principles (transparency, humility, reliability, etc.), offers reference sources (messages and supports) along with a message validation procedure. Furthermore, the Group has set up a Brand Platform aimed at strengthening the coherence of internal and external communication with a view to optimising collective performance. Thus, team spirit and ‘ citizenship ’ as a value are to be at the core of new behaviours, practices and actions, inside and outside the organisation. </li></ul>CITIZEN ACT – season 2011-2012
  5. 5. <ul><li>INTERNAL COMMUNICATION AS A KEY STEP IN POLICY IMPLEMENTATION </li></ul><ul><li>The role of internal communication is a decisive step in the implementation process among the employees. Once the policy has been framed around values and principles and validated by top management, internal communication (along with training schemes) is the number one key success factor. Indeed, a top-down approach is necessary in order to inform the employees about the values, objectives, and measures implemented by the company. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>It is thus important that this information process be carried out in a dynamic and efficient way, making it possible for each employee to fully grasp the overall policy coherence as well as its practical daily applications. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Similarly, a bottom-up approach is necessary where local initiatives will nourish and contribute to improving the company ’ s social and environmental performance. </li></ul>CITIZEN ACT – season 2011-2012
  6. 6. <ul><li>INTERNAL COMMUNICATION AS A KEY STEP IN POLICY IMPLEMENTATION </li></ul><ul><li>Lastly, the internal communication department must maintain close working relationships with both Sustainability and Human resources departments. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Responsiveness and interactivity are thus highly important: this is what Société Générale has clearly understood by constantly insisting on the need to favour such a frame of mind. Moreover, the Group is paying particular attention to employee dialogue. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Some CSR and sustainability actions, such as ecobuilding or use of resources, also have a direct concrete impact on employees ’ daily routine. The internal communication department may in such cases choose to highlight some major achievements. This was the case at Société Générale for the Granite Tower inaugurated in February 2011, first high-rise building in France with a HQE (High Environmental Quality) certification. Regarding the use of resources, we can mention the ever-increasing proportion of electricity produced by renewable energy sources. </li></ul>CITIZEN ACT – season 2011-2012
  7. 7. <ul><li>Where internal communication is key in the implementation of a CSR and sustainability policy, external communication depends on the choices made by the company regarding its image toward society as a whole, including the general public, experts, together with and professional and institutional stakeholders. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Communicating about the CSR and sustainability policy always bears a greenwashing risk. It is important to develop a consistent and well-structured approach in order to offer a credible discourse. Besides, showing one ’ s will to be a responsible player implies engaging in concrete actions on which the company may rely for its communication towards stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Due to its image deterioration in the financial crisis, which started in 2008, the banking industry views external communication as a key priority. One of Société Générale ’ s responses has been to set up and improve processes enabling it to better communicate in an articulate way on several core values and objectives. </li></ul><ul><li>EXTERNAL COMMUNICATION AS RESPONSIBLE COMMITMENT TOWARDS SOCIETY </li></ul>CITIZEN ACT – season 2011-2012
  8. 8. <ul><li>Another priority for the external communication department is to search for the best coherence between reporting made to external stakeholders on the company ’ s social and environmental performance on the one hand, and philanthropy-based and sponsoring actions (via a corporate foundation) on the other. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Société Générale has taken on such an approach by choosing to communicate on all its CSR- and sustainability-related actions in a comprehensive and consistent manner. Furthermore, the Group wishes to reinforce the visibility of its Foundation for Solidarity, which finances work integration and access to education projects (i.e. 91 projects for a total amount of 2 million euro in 2010) in France and the countries where the Group operates. </li></ul><ul><li>  The Group ’ s commitment to solidarity actions is expressed via the concept of “ citizenship ” . As for the sponsoring of sporting and cultural activities (helping young musicians for instance), Société Générale considers this to be good corporate citizen behaviour by supporting the values it believes in. </li></ul><ul><li>EXTERNAL COMMUNICATION AS RESPONSIBLE COMMITMENT TOWARDS SOCIETY </li></ul>CITIZEN ACT – season 2011-2012
  9. 9. CONCLUSION <ul><li>To conclude, it is clear that internal and external communication policies fulfil very different roles; nevertheless, what they have in common is a will to display an overall coherence based on concrete and long term actions. </li></ul>CITIZEN ACT – season 2011-2012