Charlotte Waton (Foyer): CSR Catalyst
According to Charlotte Waton, Executive Advisor and CSR Manager, customer expectations regarding CSR are rising sharply. Foyer has reacted by increasing its range of responsible and sustainable products and services.
How does Foyer Group address CSR questions internally?
Corporate Social Responsibility is a very topical question. Environmental issues, regulatory changes, the expectations of our customers in particular, and wider society more generally, make CSR a strategic issue. Foyer has always been committed to a socially-minded approach within the company. We support community solidarity projects as well as making extra efforts to ensure the well-being of employees. This is on top of our responsible environmental policy and commitment to sustainable investments. Looking forward, and thanks to support from our shareholders, our ambition is to go one step further. From having a CSR strategy, we now want to fully integrate CSR into our corporate strategy. We have decided to structure this approach through a labelling process with the INDR. This approach will enable us to understand fully the current situation and draw up an action plan in line with our impacts and the expectations of our stakeholders, as well as meeting new regulatory obligations.
“Our employees are key stakeholders, firstly as human resources, but also as CSR actors”
Who are the stakeholders in your CSR approach?
Our employees are key stakeholders; firstly as human resources, but also as CSR actors within Foyer, particularly through their voluntary membership of thematic working groups. For example, our CSR Committee draws on the ideas of five working groups focused on microfinance, gender equality, humanitarianism, solidarity, ecology and new mobility.
Many employees contribute to the initiatives proposed by these groups, using, among other things, the time Foyer makes available to them over the year to carry out these projects. Among the many projects run by employees there is support for social entrepreneurship, in the form of skills sponsorship within the framework of the partnership between Foyer and microlux; the introduction of good eco-habits designed to reduce resource waste; the collection of toys or clothing for underprivileged people; and, most recently, the establishment of a partnership with the Luxembourg NGO Aide à l'Enfance de l'Inde et du Népal, to help with the construction of a school in Nepal. Of course, the expectations of our customers are also increasing in terms of CSR, and we must respond to them by offering more responsible and sustainable products and services.
What are the main opportunities in this area?
As indicated, at group level, we are currently engaged in a labelling process with the INDR. In addition, we see many opportunities regarding our clients’ expectations, particularly in terms of sustainable finance. This might be through the composition of our portfolio of financial assets, our CapitalatWork fund offering, or our smartlife life insurance product for the Luxembourg market. We are building labelled products in collaboration with the LuxFLAG agency, both in terms of funds and insurance products, in order to respond in the best possible way to our clients' desire for responsible investment. Finally, such a project is an opportunity to rethink the relationship with our employees by encouraging their involvement, openness and autonomy. This will be achieved in particular through the implementation of talent management programmes and other training, all focused on boosting employability. Indeed, our approach will only be meaningful if our employees are involved and committed.