#13 - URGENCy & REsiliENCE - Generali Investments

#13 - URGENCy & REsiliENCE - Generali Investments

#13 - URGENCy & REsiliENCE - Generali Investments
 EDITORIAL                                                                                              | P.3

                                                                         sHaPing a NEw wORld
                                                                           Christine KOLB | Founding Partner

02   OPINION                                                                                            | P.4

                                                    our actions will sHaPe thE fUtURE
                                                  Jean-Guillaume PéLADAN | Head of Environmental Strategy

03   DISCOVERING SRI                                                                                    | P.7

                                  hUmaN Capital, central for future resilience
                                                    Sabrina RITOSSA FERNANDEZ | Analyst, ESG specialist | P.7

                           EVOlUtiON of worKing metHods and emPloYer Brands
                                   Interview with Jérémy CLéDAT | Co-founder of Welcome to the Jungle | P.17

                ENViRONmENtal tRaNsitiON: is tHe HealtH crisis a game cHanger?
                                       Anne-Claire ABADIE | Portfolio Manager, environmental specialist | P.22

04   ANALYSIS                                                                                          | P.30

                How is thE lUxURy iNdUstRy addressing tomorrow’s cHallenges?
                                              Interview with Frédéric PONCHON | Partner & Portfolio Manager

05   THE SRI TWEETS                                                                                    | P.38

06   THE FREEDOM TO ENGAGE                                                                             | P.40

                                                                                 sRi By syCOmORE

07   SYCOMORE ASSET MANAGEMENT                                                                         | P.43

                                                             aN ENGaGEd assEt maNaGER

08   OUR EDGE                                                                                          | P.46
#13 - URGENCy & REsiliENCE - Generali Investments

                                                                 shapiNG a NEw wORld
            Christine KOLB | Founding Partner

            “             We are in the midst of a health crisis that
            is causing huge disruption within our society: it is
            weakening companies, upsetting our daily lives, af-
            fecting the poorest, deepening inequalities and
            jeopardising the future of many young people.
            Today, it is not simply urgent to support the economic
            recovery, it has also become imperative to speed up
            the environmental and inclusive transition.

            We are already witnessing a behavioural shift in fa-
            vour of a more responsible, sober, less frenzied way
                                                                        to create sustainable growth. Companies now have
                                                                        to learn to navigate between “sustainability” – main-
                                                                        taining jobs, preserving biodiversity, reducing trans-
                                                                        port, and “innovation” – unprecedented strategic
                                                                        partnerships, responsible technology, differentiated
                                                                        products and services to address emerging needs,
                                                                        and an improved relationship with work – in a spirit
                                                                        of resilience.

                                                                        The health crisis and its consequences are just one
                                                                        further example of the environmental, social and so-
            of life. Left with little choice, companies will have to    cietal battles that we still have to lead. It has confir-
            adapt, be nimble and in some cases rethink their            med the key role that companies are playing in these
            business models to guarantee their sustainability:          transformations: each must assimilate the new rules
            reviewing their organisational structure, considering       of the game, come up with new ideas, drive change
            the impact of their business on the environment,            and offer a new vision. To quote Winston Churchill
            the societal contribution of their goods and services,      “we must take change by the hand or rest assured,
            relocating to offer more proximity and responsi-            change will take us by the throat”. This is also our
            veness, simplifying their supply chains… Today,             conviction.
            entire industries are suffering from the economic
            fallout – the tourism industry is a perfect example.        More than ever today, as engaged investors, we are
            Some will need to undergo deep transformations              providing hands-on support to companies that have
            or will simply disappear, in a process that could be        understood that to succeed and survive in tomorrow’s
            painful.                                                    world, they will have to act responsibly.

            But there is always a silver lining: companies have         Happy reading!
            been made to question their resilience, their ability
            to face up to a trauma and to adopt best practices
            to support continual improvement. The spotlight is
            being put on those that had already made transfor-
            mations to their organisation, had committed to
            more responsible and social approaches, and that
            had given themselves the means and the resources                                                     Christine KOLB

                                                                                           The Responsible Way - Urgency and resilience | 3
#13 - URGENCy & REsiliENCE - Generali Investments

          OUR aCtiONs will shapE
          thE fUtURE
                                                                                                                    Jean-Guillaume PéLADAN | Head of Environmental Strategy

                       “What we are going through today is no-
          thing less than a sociological miracle. Something in-
          credible is happening. The world is slowing down”
          wrote philospher Hertmut Rosa1 in the midst of the

          The tragedy caused by Covid-19 has taught us that
          the realm of possibilities is much, much wider than
          we thought. Events that would have seemed unthin-
          kable just a few months ago have become realities,
          as the few examples below have shown:
                                                                                                                         •       Forced sobriety that led to a dramatic decrease in
                                                                                                                                 human-generated pollution, particularly in green-
                                                                                                                                 house gas emissions.

                                                                                                                                  The Covid-19 pandemiC Could indeed be
                                                                                                                                  a game Changer. FirsT, we have been
                                                                                                                                  reminded ThaT The ConTrol we exerT
                                                                                                                                  over The world is largely illusionary.
                                                                                                                                  and seCond, The deep eConomiC Crisis
          •         The determination to save the lives of vulnerable                                                             generaTed by The pandemiC has opened
                    people at the expense of the economy;                                                                         up new, unexplored avenues.
          •         A slowdown in global economic growth reminis-
                    cent of wartimes;
                                                                                                                         While the concept of business as usual must be re-
          •         An unprecedented situation that highlighted                                                          thought for many industries, particularly when the cri-
                    inequalities but also gave rise to a wave of soli-                                                   sis led to a pure and simple shut down – restaurants,
                    darity;                                                                                              hotels, cultural events, the effectiveness of remote
                                                                                                                         working was proven, and even the toughest sceptics
          •         Global awareness advocating a more responsi-                                                         were convinced by its advantages: more flexibility for
                    ble corporate citizenship and rekindling the de-                                                     a better balance between private/working life, time
                    bate on a better distribution of wealth;                                                             saved on commuting… The ability to work from
                                                                                                                         home is appreciated and sometimes desirable, in
          •         Stock markets dropping faster than in 1929 at                                                        many industries. E-commerce boomed. While some
                    the beginning of 2020… followed by a rebound                                                         discovered the joys of on-line shopping, others now
                    that was almost as quick;                                                                            swear by it, and the survival of many companies is

              In the article: “The miracle and the monster – a sociological perspective on Coronavirus” published on May 10th 2020..
#13 - URGENCy & REsiliENCE - Generali Investments
now dependent on this newly indispensable retail                                                               First, more pandemics will inevitably occur. We have
channel. Finally, shorter supply chains have become                                                            created the conditions that will enable viruses to
a competitive advantage.                                                                                       emerge more frequently and spread faster3, particu-
                                                                                                               larly due to the huge livestock biomass – which is now
New ways of living took shape, be it temporarily. We                                                           14 times larger than wild mammal biomass and twice
experienced novel, less mobile, ways of working and                                                            that of humankind4. The recent report published by
new ways of spending, that were healthier, simpler,                                                            the Foundation for Research on Biodiversity has also
more local, possibly echoing the slow food2                                                                    pointed out that “science has increasingly highlighted
(https://slowfood.com/) or slow life movements.                                                                correlations between global environmental change,
                                                                                                               loss of biodiversity and associated regulation services,
                                                                                                               and the emergence, or rise, of infectious diseases”.
                                                                                                               Zoonotic risk can be increased with the erosion of bio-
                                                                                                               diversity through environmental, epidemiological,
                                                                                                               adaptive, evolution-driven, and anthropic factors”5. As
                                                                                                               the loss of biodiversity is the planet’s most severe
                                                                                                               “overshoot” issue, the role of this aggravating factor
                                                                                                               seems very far from reverting.

                                                                                                               Second, a “return to normal” is not desirable for a ma-
                                                                                                               jority of citizens and company executives throughout
                                                                                                               the world. The trend comes in various forms, but is
                                                                                                               particularly prevalent among younger generations
                                                                                                               looking for new ideals and rejecting the inequalities
                                                                                                               deepened by the crisis and the absurdities caused by
                                                                                                               our way of life or by globalisation. A world where very
                                                                                                               often, those with the most useful jobs are also those
                                                                                                               that are paid less – such as frontline health workers –
                                                                                                               as pointed out by anthropologist David Graeber6.
      Source : Côté Loisirs News (http://coteloisirs-news.com) 16 avril 2020 : article « Slow Food France      Throughout the world, people are speaking up and ur-
      pendant la période de confinement... » rédigé par Corinne Préteur et publié depuis Overblog.             ging us not to revert to our old ways7.

Cynics would argue that we will soon make up for lost                                                          Third, we witnessed the largest ever worldwide ex-
time and go back to our old habits. However, we have                                                           periment assessing the social worth of different eco-
three main reasons to believe that major transforma-                                                           nomic activities. In various countries, these activities,
tions are already under way and will shape tomorrow’s                                                          or businesses, were split into those that could be shut
world.                                                                                                         down or limited, and those that had to keep running

  Movement that began in Italy in the 1980s and that has since become widespread, cf. https://www.slowfood.com/fr
  For a plain-language approach of the issue and in a fun video format, watch Les futures épidémies que nous vivrons - DBY #68 on https://youtu.be/VJNt1AQ8p2A
  Estimates in carbon atom weights, from The biomass distribution on Earth, 2018, https://www.pnas.org/content/115/25/6506
  Report from the FRB published on May 15th 2020, https://www.actu-environnement.com/media/pdf/news-35512-covid-19-biodiversite-frb.pdf
  Bullshit jobs, published by Les Liens qui Libèrent, 2018.
  For example, Sycomore AM joined the European Alliance for Green Recovery in May 2020.

                                                                                                                                               The Responsible Way - Urgency and resilience | 5
#13 - URGENCy & REsiliENCE - Generali Investments
at all cost. The outcome of this unprecedented ex-
   periment will leave its marks and it is already of great
   use for assessing the societal contribution of the bu-
   siness models in which we invest. Non-priority indus-       In our work as asset managers, the crisis revealed –
   tries – air travel, tourism, fashion, automobile, many      in fast-forward mode – the resilience of authentic
   forms of leisure and cultural activities – can no lon-      SRI strategies and the relevance of the social, so-
   ger claim to be as useful to society as essential or        cietal and environmental themes we advocate. Will
   vital businesses such as utilities (energy, water, waste,   the crisis act as a catalyst and drive purposeful and
   hygiene), telecoms, food, education or healthcare,          responsible investing?
   and all the subcontracting chains that enable these
   companies to operate. De facto non-priority busi-
   nesses will be affected by future states of emergency
   – whether these are caused by public health, environ-
   mental or political crises. The lockdown will have          To sum up, we firmly believe that this crisis has ope-
   long-term implications and as investors, we have            ned up a historic opportunity to create a new world
   much to learn from this global utility stress-test.         that is more agile, more responsible, less frantic and
                                                               where human and natural capital considerations are
                                                               central to arbitrage decisions. We urgently need to
                                                               pursue new directions, away from the defunct “busi-
                                                               ness as usual” model and towards more environmen-
                                                               tally-friendly and inclusive societies. Contributing to
                                                               this shift lies at the heart of our corporate mission,
          ConTribuTing To This shiFT lies
aT The hearT oF our CorporaTe mission,
whiCh is To develop a more susTainable
  and inClusive eConomy and generaTe
             posiTive impaCTs For all oF
                                                               which is to develop a more sustainable and inclusive
                                                               economy and generate positive impacts for all of our
                                                               stakeholders. As such, the Covid monster could open
                                                               up historic opportunities and pave the way for more
                                                               solidarity, less frenzy, more serenity, less disruption to
                                                               the environment – in one word, more resilience for all
                                                               of us. Mirage, wishful thinking or miracle? Either way,
                     our sTakeholders.                         our actions will shape the future.

                                                                                                          Source: Wallpapers Home
#13 - URGENCy & REsiliENCE - Generali Investments

                  The unprecedented crisis we are currently experien-
                  cing has shown that societal, social, economic and
                  environmental issues are deeply interconnected.
                  Questions have been raised on companies’ ability to
                  navigate a crisis on such a scale, on their purpose,
                  their ‘raison d’être’ and the levers they can deploy to
                  address the challenges we face as a society.

                  The crisis has also highlighted the urgency for
                  governments, investors and consumers alike to
                  favour businesses with high positive social and
                  /or environmental impacts.

                                            Sabrina RITOSSA FERNANDEZ
                                                   Analyst, ESG specialist
                                           Entretien avec Jérémy CLéDAT
                                   Co-foundeur of Welcome to the Jungle
                                                      Anne-Claire ABADIE
                               Portfolio Manager, environmental specialist

                                    The Responsible Way - Urgency and resilience | 7
#13 - URGENCy & REsiliENCE - Generali Investments

                                                                                                               and STREngThS

                                                                                                               In this period of universal self-questioning and

        Capital,                                                                                               with governments having to take measures on an
                                                                                                               unprecedented scale, companies have more than
                                                                                                               ever been made to take on social and societal res-

        CENtRal fOR                                                                                            ponsibilities with respect to their stakeholders.

                                                                                                               Those whose organisational structure did not
                                                                                                               offer the flexibility required to implement extraor-
                                                                                                               dinary measures were under genuine threat, while

                                                                                                               the more agile companies that are able to adapt
                                                                                                               efficiently had opportunities to seize. Faced with
                                                                                                               the reality of the situation, nimble businesses res-
                                                                                                               ponded well: changing working conditions and
                                                                                                               reassessing targets that had become obsolete,
at Sycomore aM, our long-standing conviction is                                                                while relying on the engagement of each and every
that human capital is a powerful lever in enabling a                                                           employee.
company to create value. Employee satisfaction and
loyalty have an influence on a company’s producti-                                                             These short-term decisions that affect human ca-
vity, yield and long-term stock market performance1.                                                           pital can offer long-term competitive advantages
This phenomenon spreads beyond the corporate                                                                   and have durable implications, both positive and
sphere. Every year, the Davos economic forum pu-                                                               negative, for a company’s health.
blishes a report with RH Mercer consultancy firm
identifying the “countries best placed to contribute                                                           They also raise many questions. What will these
to employee fulfilment and drive growth potential                                                              companies leverage on in the future? What has the
and economic success”, based on 4 pillars: educa-                                                              crisis revealed about their business and organisa-
tion, health and well-being, employment and work,                                                              tional models, their working habits, their values?
including factors that can enable these assets to                                                              Periods of major disruption very often drive genuine
translate into financial performances.                                                                         change.

           as responsible invesTors, we are sTeering Clear oF over-idealisTiC sTaTemenTs on The posT-Crisis world
           and are keeping a Close waTCh on Changing praCTiCes wiThin Companies. more Than ever over These
           pasT Few weeks, we have remained Close To Company exeCuTives, To assess The impaCT oF The Crisis on
           Their business and Their abiliTy To supporT Their sTakeholders, parTiCularly Their sTaFF, during The
           Crisis and The reCovery period ThaT will Follow.

    Source: study led by Professor Alex Edmans (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=985735), drawing on analysis conducted by Sycomore AM.
#13 - URGENCy & REsiliENCE - Generali Investments
    prospeCTs and
    a sense oF purpose

Although we lack hindsight, we are convinced that          consistent with the company’s actual situation? Pro-
the way in which companies have treated their em-          mises made by management teams had to materia-
ployees in this period of crisis will have – and has al-   lise into action to affirm or reaffirm the company’s
ready – a direct impact on staff satisfaction, loyalty     determination to put its employees first.
and engagement. Earlier crises have already shown
that the companies best able to maintain or rekindle       In this respect, a commitment to maintain jobs and
their growth are often those that successfully foste-      wages could be viewed as a strategic factor: it re-
red a strong corporate culture and use it as an in-        minds all staff that the company is counting on them
house motivation tool.                                     to navigate this difficult period; it revives a sense of
                                                           belonging, confirms individual missions and
These periods generate instability and anxiety; they       upholds performance requirements.
can lead to cost cutting and/or lay-offs - measures
that threaten employee’s living standards, and can         Danone is one of several other companies that made
be catalysts for staff disengagement. Is the manage-       job preservation a priority. The group announced as
ment’s narrative aligned with the group’s values? Will     early as end of March that the employment contracts
the commitments made to preserve human capital             of its 100,000 staff would be secured until June 30th,
be honoured? Were applications for government aid          with guaranteed wages worldwide. Groups such as
                                                           Iliad, Chanel and Orange confirmed they would not
                                                           put their employees on furlough in March and April.
                                                           L’Oréal also maintained 100% of the jobs and wages
                                                           of 13,400 employees, of which over 3,000 were not
                                                           in a position to work.
       earlier Crises have already shown
 ThaT The Companies besT able To mainTain                  In the United States, Best Buy allowed employees
or rekindle Their growTh are oFTen Those                   that were reticent to go to work – due to fear of the
     ThaT suCCessFully FosTered a sTrong                   virus or actual illness – to stay home and still receive
          CorporaTe CulTure and use iT as                  their full wages. Workers on the shop floor that had
             an in-house moTivaTion Tool.                  to stay home due to the closure of their stores, recei-
                                                           ved wages based on the average number of hours
                                                           worked in the 10 weeks prior to lockdown. Some
                                                           large US retail groups gave two weeks paid sick

                                                                             The Responsible Way - Urgency and resilience | 9
#13 - URGENCy & REsiliENCE - Generali Investments
leave to their employees as most had no health in-         Not only do such commitments strengthen brand
surance, while others continued to pay full wages          image, but they also contribute to the sense of pride
despite the total closure of their stores.                 enjoyed by employees who work for the company.
                                                           Research conducted by Optimy in 2017 suggests
                                                           that 60% of clients are prepared to pay more for
                                                           goods produced by companies with strong brand
                            “iT Takes                      reputations and attractive values, and that 71% of
                   many good deeds                         Millenials would prefer to work for a company that is
                                                           deeply engaged with its community.
                            To build
                 a good repuTaTion,                        If we are to believe that “it takes many good deeds
                                                           to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to
                   and only one bad                        lose it”, these periods of crisis can spell disaster for
                      one To lose iT”                      a brand. They highlight the importance for all com-
                                                           panies to build up a strong collective culture around
                                                           a “raison d’être” that is both precise and readily iden-
                                                           tified by all – clients and employees. It is then down
In many cases, these measures maintained social            to the company to ensure it has the means to put
connections and fostered a group dynamic that hel-         their rhetoric and promises into practice through
ped put companies back to work. A study published          tangible actions.
in 2002 in the Harvard Business Review revealed that
after a wave of redundancies, employees that had
kept their jobs experienced a 41% drop in professio-
nal satisfaction, a 36% drop in organisational engage-
ment and a 20% decline in professional performance.

The engagement of management teams was also
evidenced in their ability to reaffirm the “raison
d’être” of their business – a factor that is becoming
increasingly vital in fostering employee engagement
around the group’s corporate mission. When De-
                                                                       60% 71%
                                                                            of clients   of millenials
cathlon said it would transform its diving masks into                   are prepared     would prefer
protection masks, all of the group’s stakeholders ral-               to pay more for     to work
lied around the initiative - not merely because the                goods produced        for a company
project is useful in itself, but also because it is ali-              by companies       that is deeply
gned with the brand’s values. The same could be                   with strong brand      engaged with
said of SAP, after the company developed tools to                   reputations and      its community
assist governments with the preselection and trans-                attractive values
portation of Covid-19 patients worldwide, to support
healthcare professionals and manage the flow of in-
formation and resources to their citizens.
    staff aCCounTabiliTy
    and empowermenT

The crisis has highlighted the importance of staff     It is no surprise that companies that had already set up an
empowerment, which is essential for the imple-         effective culture of change and smart working practices
mentation and efficiency of remote working. nim-       turned out to be more resilient. Those that had invested
ble organisations, less “presenteeism”, trust: many    in sufficient IT capacity, suitable tools and that already re-
companies have had to learn to work differently.       lied on remote working prior to the crisis fared well.
Due to the lockdown, they had to shift the focus on
results, review their procedures to ensure staff had   These include Orange – one of the first companies to
more flexibility and find a modus operandi that sui-   have appointed a telework representative, tasked with
ted everyone.                                          developing this way of working with 80,000 people. The
                                                       group has long considered that remote working is not
                                                       just an HR matter, but that it has an impact on how the
                                                       work is organised throughout the company. Working
      as soon as                                       from home has already been in place for several years at
      The eFFeCTiveness oF remoTe                      Renault also. This involved rethinking new management
                                                       methods, setting up new team rituals to set a pace for the
      working is proven                                day and make up for the physical absence of its mem-
      aT various eChelons                              bers. While remote working exacerbated the difficulties
                                                       caused by an exclusively verbal form of communication
      oF The Company, iT Can be                        and required that more attention be paid to individual
      a win-win soluTion.                              expectations, it also encouraged the practice of empathy
                                                       and active listening.

                                                       Working from home offers a great deal of advantages,
due to social distancing restrictions, many mana-      however its daily practice requires adjusted training on
gers who had been reticent over working from           the organisational structure of the company. With a large
home, eventually saw its advantages. Several com-      number of employees who had never experienced re-
panies – including Heineken, Essity, Legal & General   mote working left with no choice but to operate from
and SAP told us they now believed in the efficiency    home, some companies tended to increase controls and
of remote-working and are now more comfortable         reporting – which added to existing workload and was
with this system going forward.                        often badly perceived by the people concerned.

                                                                          The Responsible Way - Urgency and resilience | 11
We firmly believe that autonomy, which goes hand              reorganise operations, thereby creating an adjusted
in hand with working from home and fosters empo-              business continuity plan as and when it was needed.
werment, is a performance driver, both for the indi-
vidual worker and for the company. Autonomy also              In this respect, and particularly in the current
meets our basic need for recognition, which in itself         context, we are seeking out trusting environments
feeds self-esteem. Zara France is a good example:             and types of organisation that foster subsidiarity.
the company, by definition rather unaccustomed to             The more brutal the change, the more decisions
remote-working, was able to benefit from the cul-             have to be taken by those directly concerned – i.e.
ture of empowerment and individual initiative that            on the frontline. It is therefore necessary to ensure
it had been looking to develop for a while. The com-          that competent workers feel legitimate and are au-
pany was able to rely on its teams, who worked on             thorised to make the decisions that are incumbent
an accelerated dematerialisation of procedures to             upon them.

              WhaT'S nExT?
              As working methods continue to change, they will become a differentiating factor for companies
              and instrumental in attracting and retaining talents and maintaining productivity. Flexibility is the
              key word in this transformation process.

Several points are worth watching though: for some employees, limited social interactions can have negative
consequences on their professional fulfillment and therefore weigh on their efficiency. Furthermore, remote wor-
king removes space boundaries: private and professional areas are no longer separate when the dining room be-
comes an office. For some employees, working from home removed blended their professional and private lives.
All the more if the company uses very intrusive productivity control tools to keep a check on its staff – as was the
case recently in a number of call centres.

Before imagining that remote working becomes the norm, the feedback should be examined: whether the quality
of people’s work did or didn’t deteriorate, whether employees are more fulfilled, more motivated and if working
from home contributes to their well-being; considering all possible forms of telework in order not to increase ine-
qualities, developing new monitoring systems that are not overly invasive… Furthermore, some companies may
be tempted to go along with ‘social dumping’ ideas if remote working becomes a mainstream practice.

In our analysis of human capital management, we shall therefore be particularly attentive to the conditions in
which remote working is implemented and to the use of best practices: the payment of a telework bonus to make
up for the increase in personal expenditure caused by working from home – this is already the case at Workday,
for example, a company specialised in Cloud applications – or the possibility of working from other remote loca-
tions when people feel they are not able to work from home in comfortable conditions. Renault, for instance, has
allowed its employees to work from various locations since 2019: home, a nearby office or a coworking space.
    to imProve

Human capital serves to highlight the key role of in-      local players. This was the case with the retirement
dividual knowledge and skills in a company’s perfor-       home industry: Orpéa, Europe’s leading player in
mance. In some cases, the complexity of the current        dependency care, very promptly grasped the extent
situation has put the spotlight on individuals’ diffe-     of the crisis. Its nursing homes were relatively unsca-
rent skillsets and on their ability to adapt.              thed by the epidemic as the company showed great
                                                           agility in setting up measures to limit risks to the mi-
In order to avoid furlough, some companies had to          nimum, and fared better than some of its competi-
break away from their existing hierarchical flow-          tors as a result.
charts and ask their employees to take on new roles,
or to carry out temporary missions that were far re-
moved from their initial job, drawing on other skills.

For example, Cisco has developed a platform calling
for in-house project participation to enable em-                         WhaT'S nExT?
ployees who were unable to work to remain active
and acquire new skills, whatever their initial position                Training will be a determining factor,
in the company. After placing 95% of its staff on fur-                 both for managers and for employees,
lough, Wartner – specialised in premium hotel laun-                    in meeting customers’ new require-
dry services – transformed its activity to take on the     ments and adapting to increasingly digital consumer
laundry of Paris Hospital health workers.                  patterns.

here, agility – a concept that is often vague – trans-     This will provide an opportunity for companies to in-
lates into tangible actions. Changes that used to          novate and identify new solutions to offer better trai-
take months to implement are now being decided             ning to teams that are under pressure, to develop
upon in just a few days. New habits were adopted in        new, nimbler working methods, to encourage ups-
a couple of weeks.                                         killing – particularly on cutting-edge technology, to
                                                           accelerate the digitalisation of the company’s pro-
Based on the companies we follow closely, we noted         cesses and ensure that digital methods are suitably
that those exposed to international markets, particu-      put forward. In this respect, many measures within
larly if they were present in China, reacted faster than   the European recovery involve digital training.

                                                                            The Responsible Way - Urgency and resilience | 13
ensure tHat
     dialogue is given
     tHe imPortance
     it deserves

Today more than ever, social conditions are a key                  country as a whole. Conversely, some companies found
issue for companies. This period has demonstrated                  themselves trapped due to tense relations with the trade
that a collective spirit, a team able to close ranks when          unions, as was the case for Amazon, which disagreed
faced with danger or a threat, is an essential feature.            with the unions on employee protection measures and
Drawing on our research efforts and meetings, we the-              ended up having to close six of its French warehouses.
refore attempt to assess how trade unions and labour
organisations operate.                                             Based on the discussions we have held over the past few
                                                                   weeks with various decision-making bodies, it seems
Poste Italiane, the Italian post office, offers an interesting     clear that companies that had included employees or
example: thanks to positive trade union relations,                 their reps when drawing up their Business Continuity
constructive discussions between different bodies en-              Plans, and more recently, lockdown easing frameworks,
abled the group to adapt its operations swiftly and gua-           were able to negotiate emergency collective agree-
rantee that essential services continued to be provided            ments in a pragmatic and flexible way, and are now in a
to customers, while also offering powerful support for the         stronger position to navigate the recovery.

               WhaT'S nExT?
               Our attention will focus on how relations between different stakeholders evolve:
• The quality of the dialogue and discussions with employee representatives is a major issue when analysis the strengths
  and weaknesses of a company over the long term.

• a company’s responsibility with regards to its suppliers cannot be overlooked. We shall naturally favour companies that
  made sure they had the means to preserve their supplier relations to avoid jeopardising their business. In any circums-
  tances, maintaining equitable and non-exploitative relations with suppliers is a major factor in our analysis framework.
  Unilever offering 500 million euros to support its small producers and suppliers during the crisis is a perfect example of
  the quality relations that the group has developed and nurtured within its ecosystem over the years.

• Finally, we shall put more emphasis on analysing relations between top management and employees, and will be
  particularly attentive to the creation of shared value and to the fairness of CEO/workers’ pay ratios – these have both
  been key factors in our voting policy for a long time. One could also mention that pressure on minimum wages has
  turned pay equity into an economic issue: beware of companies whose business models rely on excessively low
  labour costs…
Providing genuine answers
    to tHe manY cHallenges
    to equiTy witHin
    a comPanY

This time round, the crisis deepened inequalities
throughout the world and particularly in developed
countries. A recent study conducted by Citi revealed
that only 24% of US jobs could be practiced remotely            as The Crisis
and that the ability to work from home and wage
levels were deeply correlated. This reflects a skills-          deepened inequaliTies,
based technological shift, whereby technological ad-            we appreCiaTe These deCisions
vances have benefited qualified workers. High-income
employees were less affected by the lockdown as they
                                                                made by senior managemenT
were able to continue working, while jobs in services,          as They send ouT The message
or the tourism and construction industries - hairdres-
sers, waiters, factory workers for example, suffered
                                                                To employees ThaT exeCuTives
from large wage losses – and they are already paid less         are willing To
in the first place.                                             “share in The pain”
This period also opened our eyes on a social phe-
nomenon that has been around for a while: the fact
that remuneration is misaligned with the social or        Large retail companies that chose to keep their
economic “use” of a job. Some professions – viewed        stores open to meet their customers’ essential needs
as essential - were either totally unaffected by the      said they had to spend hundreds of thousands of
lockdown or ensured continued business activity, on       euros to ensure the safety of their staff and clients
a remote basis: healthcare workers, naturally, but also   and support on-line sales. These figures include the
bakers, supermarket workers, firemen, butchers, truck     payment of exceptional bonuses and wage in-
drivers, teachers, cleaners etc. Jobs that turned out     creases for front-line workers, in an effort to better
to be indispensable, or even vital, and that tend to be   align pay and social contribution. Walmart, for
associated with low wages…                                example, spent 900 million dollars in bonuses, sick

                                                                          The Responsible Way - Urgency and resilience | 15
pay increases, health & safety protection, during the   top executives in April and May, and paid a 750-euro
quarter. Incidentally, retailers are expecting these    monthly bonus to the employees who continued to
costs to rise during next quarter.                      work on the production, logistics and installation fa-
                                                        cilities. Sodexo executives, followed by others, also
Many large companies also took strong action – bo-      chose to reduce their wages in order to help their
nuses, donations or executive pay cuts for example –    more vulnerable workers… As the crisis deepened
to enable their employees to face the crisis more       inequalities, we appreciate these decisions made by
serenely. Nexans decided on a 30% wage cut for its      senior management as they send out the message
                                                        to employees that executives are willing to “share in
                                                        the pain”.

                                                        In the same spirit, we were particularly selective du-
                  iT now seems Clear To all             ring this year’s voting season in supporting or rejec-
             ThaT wiThouT The engagemenT                ting dividend pay-outs. We are convinced that
      oF Their employees, many Companies                immediate shareholder returns should not jeopar-
      would noT have survived The Crisis.               dise a company’s long-term resilience, nor the remu-
          while in normal CirCumsTanCes,                neration of other stakeholders and employees in
             human CapiTal is perCeived as              particular.
              a CompeTiTive advanTage and
    a perFormanCe driver For Companies,
wiTh The Coronavirus Crisis iT has beCome
   an indispensable asseT whiCh iT will be
                      essenTial To preserve.
                                                                       Of wORKiNG
                                                                      mEthOds aNd

                                                                                              Jérémy Clédat
                                                                           Co-founder of Welcome to the Jungle

                    Jérémy Clédat is the co-founder of Welcome to the Jungle, a specialist recruitment
                    platform. The company has already conquered the French market, with clients inclu-
                    ding Doctolib, Carrefour, Louis Vuitton, and a further 2,200 companies. It has recently
                    raised 20 million euros through Gaia Capital Partners, its long-standing shareholders
(BPI France, XAnge and Jean-Paul Guisset) and co-investors, such as MAIF Avenir, in order to speed up its
development in Europe and enter the corporate software market. Jérémy shares his views on how working
methods and employer brands are evolving.

                                                                         The Responsible Way - Urgency and resilience | 17

MOTE WORkING?                                              Mentalities are changing on this issue, as much for
                                                           job seekers as for recruiters. Most companies, for
Before the health crisis and the lockdown restric-         instance, were very reluctant on recruiting remotely.
tions, companies had little incentive to set up re-        Until now, physical interviews were seen as a sacred
mote working or to broaden its use. I would even           stage in the recruitment process. During the lock-
say that 6 months ago, many were still wondering if        down, many found themselves having to make re-
it was feasible, even desirable, for the smooth run-       mote recruitments and even onboard new recruits
ning of an organisation. And then over the course of       during the shutdown period – a real challenge.
just a few days, millions started working from home.       This shattered a number of preconceptions, as the
So clearly it was possible! And beneficial: most of the    process proved it could work – albeit differently,
companies we talk with, particularly those with mis-       but it worked.
givings over remote work, have seen their average
team productivity increase by 15 to 20%. This new          I have the feeling that following the lockdown ex-
awareness is likely to drive an acceleration of the cur-   perience, remote working has very quickly become
rent post-crisis trend and could convince the most         an employee’s right in itself. In the months to
reluctant employers.                                       come, companies that do not authorise telework –
                                                           including flexible conditions for their staff, will be
Particularly as working from home comes with a tan-        totally out of touch with the job market. I am ac-
gible financial argument. More than ever in times of       tually convinced that this will greatly hinder their
crisis, companies are looking to reduce their costs.       ability to attract and retain talents.
These “hybrid” ways of working can enable compa-
nies to downsize their office space by around 20 to        Working from home also offers greater flexibility
30%... They also dramatically reduce home to work          with time, meaning the company can be more in-
commutes and generate a strong positive impact             clusive and able to recruit from backgrounds it did
both for the environment – this was obvious during         not necessarily have access to before. This is a
lockdown, and for employees’ well-being.                   major issue for parents in particular: studies have
                                                           shown that many mothers set themselves huge
At Welcome to the Jungle, we have believed in the          barriers and refrain from applying for specific po-
advantages of remote working ever since the com-           sitions or in certain industries, as they believe that
pany was launched. Even prior to the lockdown, 20%         the working hours that are expected of them are
of our teams worked 100% from home and lived out-          not compatible with their personal lives. Remote
side of the Paris area. Our charter also allowed each      working widens the scope of possibilities, both for
and every one of our employees to be able to spend         the candidate and for the employer.
50% of their working hours on a remote basis.
                                                           For example, digital and Tech talents are often
                                                           under the spotlight. Today, companies can only
                                                           “hunt” for these talents in a relatively limited geo-

graphical area – Paris, in the case of France, and yet   In my view, the phenomenon raises an even deeper
there are talents to be found everywhere. If a com-      issue: will it be possible one day to lose the correla-
pany can recruit with no geographical constraints,       tion between the value of the work provided by an
it can potentially meet more talents and give them       individual and his/her place of work/residence? This
a chance. Incidentally, many of the members of our       may seem utopic, yet it would help with the develop-
Tech team do not live in the Paris area and this has     ment of rural areas, the relocation of a number of in-
no incidence on their daily activities. I am convin-     dustries, the creation of new hubs for highly-skilled
ced that this trend will prove highly positive for the   jobs.
working world.

                                                         DO yOU BELIEVE THAT REMOTE WORkING WILL
At Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg’s recent speech – an-
nouncing that remote working would become the            Admittedly, the lockdown restrictions meant that it
norm and that wages would ultimately be adjusted         was urgent to make arrangements that would have
based on employee’s place of residence – suggests that   taken months of adjustment in normal circums-
a drift towards social dumping could occur in some in-   tances. Nevertheless, we have the feeling that buil-
dustries. Actually, this would take a very novel form:   ding an effective remote team culture, which would
when we think of social dumping, we tend to imagine      work for all and on a permanent basis, needs to be
the process occurring between Europe/the US and Asia     considered carefully and gradually. Rushing into
and in deeply manufacturing-based industries. Today      things is always risky. I am very surprised when I hear
this could be much more complex, involving multiple      companies announcing that they are already closing
sectors and taking place within the same country (from   their offices and switching to 100% remote opera-
San Francisco to a town in Wyoming for instance, from    tions. Such practices require deep and disruptive
Paris to Angoulême). It could be very dangerous.         changes to the corporate culture. They involve new
                                                         ways of working, based on unsynchronised commu-
                                                         nication, where the written word is fundamental,
                                                         even vital.

                                                         Neither do I believe that setting up remote work
                                                         simply in response to employees’ demands can work
                                                         effectively over time and for the group. A company
                                                         has to orchestrate a change of culture to ensure it
                                                         works well with its teams on a remote basis: develo-
                                                         ping the right tools, ensuring that all managers believe
                                                         in the project and that this doesn’t create additional
                                                         managerial problems. With remote working, the
                                                         issue of trust also takes on a whole new meaning
                                                         and importance. Managers have to be sure they can
                                                         trust their employees to work effectively from home.

Source: Les Echos                                                         The Responsible Way - Urgency and resilience | 19

I also think it is essential to remove – as much as        teams, is very much related to the level of transparency
possible – the factors suggesting that the person          and sincerity of their communications. This plays a major
who isn’t physically present is somehow missing out        role in staff engagement and in their willingness to stay
on some of corporate life, that his or her role in the     and take part in the recovery.
company is less valuable, that his or her career is
negatively affected. These cultural aspects should         The most unifying employer brands are those whose
be approved by all: a process that requires power-         employees are well attuned to the message voiced by
ful in-house communication on the issue to make it         the company both internally and externally. They are
very clear that working from home is a standard            able to say “yes, this is the company I work for, beyond
practice and has been fully approved at all levels of      doubt”. an employee must relate to his or her com-
the company.                                               pany, and his or her mission within the company. your
                                                           employees, and your candidates too, are your best
For example, at Welcome to the Jungle we have cho-         ambassadors. In any case, I believe there is no point in
sen to provide an in-house training programme for          trying to hide who you really are in corporate commu-
team members who are new to remote working or              nications, as there is little sense in attracting people
wish to switch to 100% remote. It is essential to          who do not fit with the company. This would be a
create a formal framework for these practices, to en-      waste of time and money. According to DARES, 36%
able all concerned to weigh the pros and cons, to          of French permanent employment contracts are
understand the implications and to make necessary          ended within the first 12 months – yet the cost of an
arrangements.                                              unsuccessful recruitment is estimated to range bet-
                                                           ween 12 and 18 months of wages.


Corporate culture tends to come to life through dis-
cussions between people or in offices. Today this can
no longer be effective! I am convinced that compa-
nies now have to manage their corporate culture in
written form. Internal communications in its broadest
sense plays a central role in reminding staff of the
company’s purpose and how individual objectives are
aligned with its mission. More than ever in our society,
this is about the consistency between a company’s
narrative, the approach used to design its products
and services and its raison d’être.

This crisis period serves as a good example: I find that
the ease shown by companies in managing the situation
with clients, and the way they reassure and engage their

Today, the issue of corporate engagement is omni-          The Welcome Kit is a platform for employer brands
present and scrupulously examined. a company’s sin-        offering a turnkey and customisable career site, on
cerity over social, societal or environmental issues       which they can highlight their corporate culture,
has a huge impact on its ability to attract clients and    present working conditions, publish employee in-
talents. A company’s positioning on these matters can      terviews and articles on the company and upload
no longer be invented from scratch. We have already        job offers. The tool enables the company to manage
seen a number of companies negatively affected by          applications efficiently and facilitates interactions
their recruiting practices, particularly on the issue of   with team members through a structured process. It
diversity. The same can be said for industries that are    reflects excellence for a company wishing to offer
pay little or no attention to environmental considera-     the best possible experience for its candidates, as it
tions. Even within the Tech industries, the media is-      does for its clients. Today, over 3,000 companies use
sues that major players experience with regards to         Welcome kit to recruit their staff.
their ESG commitments already weigh on recruitment
and talent retention. I am certain that these compa-       We have also developed a media tool specialised
nies will find themselves increasingly misaligned with     on work-related issues, through which we offer a
the expectations of potential candidates.                  large range of web content and videos on a vast
                                                           array of issues, including recruitment, occupations
                                                           and best practices providing food for thought for
COULD yOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THE CORPORATE                 candidates and recruiters.
THE RECRUITMENT EXPERIENCE?                                During the lockdown, we launched Welcome
                                                           home – an intranet designed to facilitate the on-
Our corporate mission when we created the com-             boarding of new recruits and improve team dy-
pany in 2015 was to rethink the whole experience –         namics within the company. This includes photo
from seeking a job and being recruited, to engage-         galleries, contacts, detailed profiles to understand
ment within the company. At the time, we realised          who does what within the company. We believe it
that the most upsetting factor in job applications is      is essential for companies to offer a well-designed,
not receiving an answer. We quickly wanted to deve-        user-friendly and corporate culture-driven intra-
lop and provide our clients with a collaborative tool      net. Intranet can be a powerful tool for sharing in-
designed to improve the candidate’s experience at          formation and knowledge. 250 companies are
each stage of the recruitment process.                     already using the system.

                                                                           The Responsible Way - Urgency and resilience | 21
ENViRONmENtal                                                                               however, according to the WhO, the real scourge
                                                                                                    that exceeds all of these factors is environmental

        tRaNsitiON:                                                                                 pollution. Now ranked as the first cause of death in
                                                                                                    the world, the pollution of air, water, soils but also
                                                                                                    exposure to chemicals, climate change and ultra-

        is thE hEalth                                                                               violet radiations caused the deaths of over 12.6 mil-
                                                                                                    lion people throughout the world in 2018. Air

        CRisis a GamE
                                                                                                    pollution alone killed 7 million that same year1…

                                                                                                    Scientists have also warned that the consequences

                                                                                                    of climate change will prove dramatic if nothing is
                                                                                                    done. Every year, or almost, temperature records
                                                                                                    are beaten across the world. The United Nations re-
                                                                                                    ported in January that the past decade was the war-
                                                                                                    mest on record. Based on the current carbon
                                                                                                    dioxide emission trajectory, we are heading to-
                                                                                                    wards a 3 to 5 degrees Celsius rise in temperatures
                                                                                                    before the century is over which will also involve an
Could the Covid-19 crisis open up a new window                                                      increase in extreme weather events, a massive loss
of opportunity and accelerate the environmental                                                     in biodiversity (according to the IPBES, our planet
transition? As many are imagining the post-crisis                                                   has entered its 6th mass extinction period – the first
world, this pandemic has shown, once again, how                                                     to be caused by mankind…), the depletion of soils
difficult it is for us to measure the full impact of so-                                            and food-related implications, among many other
cietal and environmental abuses on the living                                                       impacts.
                                                                                                    Early 2020, the World Economic Forum mapped
The statistics speak for themselves, actually high-                                                 out the main risks that our societies and our planet
lighting the severity of the issue: while caution over                                              are exposed to: this revealed that risks associated
the Covid-19 pandemic is naturally required – the                                                   with natural disasters, loss of biodiversity, extreme
virus has led to over 550,000 deaths worldwide so                                                   temperatures or water crises were not simply more
far1, AIDS, despite receding significantly, still killed                                            likely to occur than the risk of infectious diseases
770,000 people in 2018, and tuberculosis is on the                                                  (including Covid-19), but they also have a much
rise and linked to over 1.3 million deaths.                                                         more destructive impact.

    Source: World Health Organisation, COVID-19 data as of July 5th 2020, other data at end 2018.
Source: Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – March 11, 2020

Over the past few weeks, huge, unprecedented means were deployed in response to the crisis caused by the
Covid-19 virus; the fast and massive decisions made by governments and the solidarity shown by the corporate
world are commendable. Nevertheless, it seems clear that the environmental transition is not moving at the pace
it should, and that the measures that have been taken so far are insufficient. With all indicators urging us to take
action, will our commitment be commensurate with the environmental risk we are facing?

                                                                                      The Responsible Way - Urgency and resilience | 23
at Sycomore aM, we believe that the health crisis isn’t hindering – and won’t hinder – the environmental transition.
On the contrary, it requires that we respond urgently to improve the resilience of our society and of our lands.
and if we look at the issue more closely, it seems in actual fact that planets are aligning to encourage stronger
and faster environmental action.


Very gradually, the idea that safe-
guarding the environment is an everyday
consideration has become widespread.
Civil society had grasped the issue and
is a driving force for the transition.
Due to the threat of climate change,
many environmental groups are
emerging, calling for governments
to swing into action as quickly as pos-
sible. The number of activist groups is
rising fast: Fridays for Future, youth-
Strike4Climate, Extinction Rebellion.
Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, for
example, has become an iconic voice
for the global climate movement and
has convinced thousands of young
people to organise climate marches to
convey the message.

These individual and collective initiatives,
in their thousands, are transforming ways
of life and are pointing us towards more
moderation and solidarity in our consumer
habits. Civil society is becoming increasin-
gly stringent with companies, demanding
more traceability and transparency, nota-
bly on consumer products. Accenture
Strategy’s 14th report, Global Consumer
Pulse Research , which analysed the ans-
wers provided by almost 30,000 consu-
mers across the world, revealed that the
latter are now attracted to companies that
commit to using quality ingredients (80%),
that treat their staff fairly (64%) and actively                                           Source: Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images
support environmental protection (62%).
The massive boom enjoyed by the organic food mar-                            Green Deal will survive the economic fallout caused
ket is a perfect example: throughout the world, the                          by the epidemic, the European Commission has
market for organic produce has grown almost four-                            reaffirmed that its green deal embodies the Euro-
fold over the past 10 years to reach 100 billion euros                       pean Union’s new growth strategy. Its main objec-
today2. Similarly, the huge enthusiasm for cycling as                        tive: carbon neutrality by 2050. While the current
a means of transport in large cities – which began well                      target is to cut CO2 emissions by 40% from 1990 le-
ahead of the health crisis – reflects a new way of life,                     vels by 2030, this is likely to be taken further during
particularly as bicycles prove very efficient in town                        the summer with a 50% to 55% cut by 2030. The
with an average speed of 15 km/hour versus                                   vice-president of the Commission stated that “the
14km/hour for a car!                                                         level of urgency has increased”. He is urging not to
                                                                             reconstruct the “pre-crisis” economy and confirmed
                                                                             the commitments made with the Green Deal: 50
                                                                             measures to be implemented over the next 30
                                                                             years designed to make deep changes to our ways
        our ConviCTion: Companies ThaT Fail                                  of living, producing, working and spending.
                 To rise To The Challenge, use                               At the end of May, the European Commission also
          This TransiTion To aCCeleraTe Their                                unveiled plans for the EU’s economic recovery fund.
         TransFormaTion and prompTly meeT                                    The “Next Generation EU” is a 750-billion-euro plan
        These new requiremenTs will suFFer                                   over 2021-2024, which will come in addition to the
            From negaTive eConomiC impaCTs                                   European budget for 2021-2027 and includes an
              on Their business over The mid                                 unprecedented focus on sustainable development
      To long Term: loss oF CompeTiTiveness,                                 issues. 25% of the 1,850 billion euros will be used
       boyCoTTs, loss oF operaTing liCenCes,                                 to finance the acceleration of the environmental
                         addiTional CosTs eTC.                               transition and will take into account the “do no
                                                                             harm” principle – a Europe-wide taxonomy aimed
                                                                             at avoiding further harm and destruction through
                                                                             targeted actions.

ECOnOMIC RECOvERy pLanS pLaCE a gREaT                                        These investments will focus on a number of speci-
EMphaSIS On ThE TRanSITIOn                                                   fic sectors:

With the economic shutdown caused by the epidemic,                           • 350 billion euros4 will be invested to accelerate the
questions are being raised over the actual deployment                        pace of home renovations from 1% to 3% of overall
of the recovery plans: how will the billions of euros be                     construction (insulation, efficiency of heating and air-
injected and how much importance will be paid to en-                         conditioning systems, and lighting, which are believed
vironmental issues? Scientists and specialists currently                     to cause 30 to 40% of CO2 emissions);
estimate that the investments required to meet the Sus-
tainable Development Objectives (SDOs) range bet-                            • 35 billion euros to support the development of
ween 5 and 7 trillion dollars per year at worldwide level3.                  renewable energy (an additional 15 GW – or more
With doubts raised over whether the European                                 than 25% of the installed capacity in 2019);

  Source: https://www.entreprendre.fr/marche-du-bio-un-essor-exceptionnel/
  World Investment Report, UNCTAD, 2014.
  Investment of 91 billion euros, 350 billion euros with leverage effect.
                                                                                              The Responsible Way - Urgency and resilience | 25
• 5 to 30 billion euros invested to fund the development   conventional energy producers. Across the world,
of green hydrogen, produced from renewable energy          their production costs are dropping year after year.
rather than natural gas;                                   According to the data collected by the International
                                                           Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) covering around
• 40 billion euros for the development of rail infra-      17,000 projects in 2019, since 2010, costs have fallen
structures;                                                82% for photovoltaic solar energy, 39% for on-shore
                                                           wind energy and 29% for off-shore wind energy!
• 20 billion euros in incentives for the purchase of       Naturally, this creates incentives for governments to
electric vehicles;                                         continue “green” initiatives and develop new projects
                                                           to encourage these advancements. Incidentally, after
• 30 billion euros invested in the development of the      taking a wait-and-see approach during the first
circular economy (recycling and plastic substitutes        weeks of the crisis, major European investment
in particular);                                            funds dedicated to energy transition, including the
                                                           fund run by the Caisse des Dépôts, are now back on
• 130 billion euros to fund the installation of high-      track and ready to fund the best projects.
debit Internet in rural areas to boost digitalisation in
agriculture and accelerate organic farming.                ThE TRanSITIOn MUST BE FInanCEd By aLL
                                                           ECOnOMIC SECTORS
                                                           Beyond incentives, regulation or supply, the environ-
The recovery plans can help entrench these transforma-     mental transition can only gain momentum if all of
tion trends. Particularly as producing responsibly tends   us - companies, individuals and investors alike –
to prove economically profitable over the mid-term.        make deep changes to the way we behave. Luckily,
                                                           many companies have been active for a number of
Renewable energy is a good example: renewables             years and are paving the way for change, and others
are increasingly competitive, both for producing           are managing the shift in order to play a role in the
electricity and heat, to the extent that public grants     collective environmental transformation, but also to
are no longer intended to subsidise the industry, but      meet the needs of clients who are increasingly
to speed up capacity and boost growth opportuni-           concerned about the social and environmental issues
ties for players that have already made considerable       we are now facing.
progress on the renewable energy learning curve.
                                                           The energy sector, the backbone to sustainable
For instance, the Spanish group Solaria specialised as
early as 2002 in the design, manufacture and installa-
tion of solutions for photovoltaic and thermal systems.
The company now has a busy portfolio of projects and
many network connections, an undeniable competitive

Technological progress and industrialisation have en-
abled the more mature companies within these indus-
tries to become particularly competitive compared to
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