The evening began with a family reunion. For the first time, Vigeo teams were in full force, with hundreds of employees from the Paris office, of course, but also from Brussels, Milan, London, Tokyo and Casablanca. Vigéens appreciated the opportunity to meet and put faces to names or strengthen existing links, but also the occasion to compete on artistic creativity when the celebration turned into an international short films festival, with films directed by offices in Brussels, Casablanca, Milan and Paris, with prizes. Vigeo also recognized the importance of its most senior employees with a series of awards.
Arriving guests formed a prestigious audience, combining political figures, representatives of labor and management, and prominent representatives of companies and banks. After a welcome speech by Anne Mercier-Gallay, Director of Human Resources at BPCE, Nicole Notat welcomed the guests and traced a brief history of the Vigeo adventure in corporate responsibility (CSR) and socially responsible investment (SRI) while pledging to stay the course for years to come. The stage then opened to invited speakers, under the direction of Vincent Giret, Managing Editor of the daily newspaper, Libération.
During the celebration, definitely focused on the awards ceremony, L’Oréal (for France) and British Telecom (for Europe, United Kingdom and World) were named the most advanced companies in ESG. These honors, awarded on stage to Jean-Paul Agon (CEO of L’Oréal) and Corrado Sciolla (CEO of British Telecom France), resulted from the launch of Vigeo’s new range of indices: Vigeo World 120 (120 most advanced companies in the world), Vigeo Europe 120 (120 most advanced European companies), Vigeo France 20 (20 most advanced French companies) and Vigeo United Kingdom 20 ( 20 most advanced British companies).
Two representatives took the stage to remind the audience that, if needed, extra-financial rating could expand to cover all domains and all types of investors, both public and private. Representing the General Confederation of Enterprises of Morocco (CGEM), Ghalia Sebti (president of the federation of craft businesses at the CGEM) said a few words on the success of the CGEM label for CSR; Jean-Paul Huchon (President of the Ile-de-France regional council) demonstrated, using the example of a € 350 million bond issued in March 2012 by the Ile-de-France region, the interest that extra-financial rating could attract from local authorities.
It was then time for the battle of opinions. François Chérèque (secretary general of the CFDT) expressed his hope for a less technocratic approach to CSR within companies, placing the issue at the heart of negotiations among social partners. Meanwhile, Laurence Parisot (president of MEDEF) noted that the concept of “fair competitiveness,” defended by the MEDEF, included the concepts of CSR and SRI insofar as they constituted an asset for businesses committed to their principles, while arguing against too binding a framework, but for more uniform rules at the European level to avoid the risk of dumping; Paul-Henri de la Porte du Theil (President of the French Association of Financial Management), closed by providing useful insight on extra-financial rating techniques.
The evening concluded with a speech by Michel Sapin (French Minister of Labour, Employment, Training and Social Dialogue), who reiterated the legitimacy and relevance of social rating and stressed the importance of CSR in the context of negotiations between social partners.
Because it is an ultimate conviction shared by all stakeholders, politicians and union representatives, public or private business leaders, in the words of Nicole Notat, CSR and SRI will continue to demonstrate their “inevitability” and “utility” in the future…