The Pierre Fabre Group enlisted independent body Ecocert Environment to assess its CSR approach according to the ISO 26000 standard on sustainable development. From this very first assessment, the company attained Excellence level – the highest maturity level under the Ecocert 26000 baseline reference standard – with a score of 77 percent. Before this no international business of Pierre Fabre’s calibre had been assessed by Ecocert in accordance with this reference standard.
Corporate social responsibilities
‘We are delighted to afford this recognition to the Pierre Fabre Group, thus highlighting the company’s commitment to all the CSR guidelines mentioned in the ISO 26000 standard. The robustness of the Ecocert 26000 assessment model represents a real guarantee for stakeholders that their expectations have been objectively taken into account by Pierre Fabre. This recognition is in line with the Ecocert group’s desire to acknowledge players that assume their corporate social responsibilities and are committed to transforming our economic models for the long term,’ says Laurent Croguennec, CEO of Ecocert Environment.
‘We are, of course, very pleased with the result of this assessment which demonstrates the Pierre Fabre Group’s sincere and ongoing commitment to combining economic development with respect for human beings, environmental protection and maintaining a local presence,’ says Florence Guillaume, director of Green Mission Pierre Fabre, the entity in charge of the Group’s CSR policy.
Eric Ducournau, CEO of the Pierre Fabre Group declares: ‘The fact that we attained the ‘excellence’ level from our very first assessment by Ecocert Environment is due to both the vision of a single man, who was a pioneer in the area of sustainable development, and the efforts of our 11 000 employees to honour this vision on a daily basis. This assessment will give us the energy to boost our efforts to further satisfy requirements in terms of naturalness, transparency, scientific rigor and ethics regarding patients, consumers and health professionals in the 130 countries where our brands are marketed.’
To carry out its assessment, Ecocert Environment conducted 150 interviews in France and abroad, including 55 Pierre Fabre employees drawn by lot and a panel of eight external stakeholders. With regard to the 7 main assessment criteria of the ISO 26000 standard, the independent assessment body identified many strengths and indicated some opportunities for improvement.
The Pierre Fabre Group’s strengths highlighted by Ecocert Environment include the following:
- The initial vision of its founder, ‘to take care of human beings, their health and their environment,’ and his values based on respecting company stakeholders have not lost any of their importance; for Ecocert Environment they represent ‘the foundations of a truly transparent and ethical CSR approach’
- Having a government-recognised public-interest Foundation as its majority shareholder and high levels of employee stock ownership (85 percent of employees are shareholders) allows the Pierre Fabre Group to implement its actions over the long term
- The Group is committed to every topic concerning sustainability, it is at the forefront of research and innovation (oncology, dermatology, dermo-cosmetics, etc.) and asserts an ambition to be exemplary in its environmental quality and working conditions
- Its local presence in south-west France, particularly in the French department of the Tarn, supports long-term value creation in this largely landlocked region, allowing it to export its regional know-how worldwide.
The audit performed by Ecocert Environment also identified several areas for improvement that will guide the company’s CSR approach over the coming three years:
- To make information regarding the Group’s CSR challenges and commitments, and those of its brands and products, more readily available to consumers
- To develop methodological baseline reference standards to allow each of the company’s businesses to take more comprehensive ownership of its own specific CSR challenges
- To participate more systematically in supporting Group partners with structuring their own CSR approach.
According to Séverine Roullet-Furnemont, director of Sustainable Development at Green Mission Pierre Fabre: ‘In a world saturated with ‘green’ information, it is important to provide evidence of our commitments to consumers and stakeholders. The transparency exercise we undertook with Ecocert Environment was conducted to fulfil this requirement first and foremost, and very few companies of our size do as much. Furthermore, it will allow us to pursue our continual improvement process by working on the identified opportunities for improvement between now and the next assessment, scheduled for 2022.’
The Pierre Fabre Group has already set itself several ambitious, measurable targets for the short and medium term:
- 100 percent of new products will be eco-designed from 2019
- 80 percent of new plant extracts will be sourced from plants grown in line with organic or sustainable farming principles (pesticide-free) by 2021
- 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025
- 25 percent reduction in energy consumption by 2025.