Getting to Grips with Corporate Social Responsibility (AFIGEC)

Business Opportunities
April 14, 2022 - AFIGEC

This is a thought leadership article from PrimeGlobal member firm AFIGEC in France on its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy. 

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What is CSR?

Before discussing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), it is important to understand what is actually meant by CSR. According to the French Ministry of Economy and Finance, "Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is defined by the European Commission as the voluntary integration by companies of social and environmental concerns into their business operations and their relations with stakeholders." 

In short, CSR is the contribution of companies to the challenges of sustainable development. Sustainability is a future challenge for all responsible companies that take their societal role seriously.

The AFIGEC Group has long-held environmental values. This began when the firm signed a contract with a beekeeper; it produces artisanal honey from Paris and more recently from Normandy. Once harvested, the honey is distributed for free to employees and clients.

The AFIGEC Group has been accelerating its actions over the last few years, as it is keen to go even further in its approach, which combines sustainability and wellbeing.

First symbolic challenge: work responsibly

For many years, the AFIGEC Group has wanted to preserve the environment. By looking at its working habits, it spotted the first important action it should take: save trees by using less paper.

Its objective is to go paperless. To achieve this, it is setting up internal awareness campaigns. It is dematerializing, equipping itself, deploying new software, and encouraging its teams to stop printing and reading paper documents. To this end, the firm provides each employee with two or even three screens, a scanner, and a laptop. 

At the same time, it encourages its customers to adopt these good practices with tools for quotations, electronic payslips, direct links with banks, expense report software, digital safes, electronic signatures, SAAS, electronic invoices, etc. Lots of everyday tools that reduce paper consumption.

Obviously, the AFIGEC Group can only encourage its employees to adopt this approach. For those that are still attached to paper, it suggests they use recyclable paper.

Finally, it calculates the number of trees saved each year as a result of these practices. 

Going beyond paper

The AFIGEC Group also strives to go plastic-free. Not only does it participate in the plastic-free day, it also provides each employee (in their welcome pack when they are hired) with a glass or aluminum water bottle, a glass coffee cup, a ceramic mug, and a metal straw.

The firm's benevolence is also reflected in a new initiative to make its sites greener (with depolluting plants). People can choose to participate in this green initiative, either individually or as a group.

The firm is also reclaiming its workplace by giving it a facelift after so much time spent working from home.

Its eco-responsible approach is integrated into the daily life of the company. For example, all of its cars used to transport its employees to and from work are now electric or hybrid cars. All its journeys, therefore, have a smaller carbon footprint. 

The company also encourages its employees to keep in touch with their customers;  customer relations are at the heart of its collaborative strategy.

The firm has introduced remote working for a maximum of two days per week too. It believes everyone should have the choice to work from home, whilst respecting the company and the quality of life at work.

In addition, it has implemented a waste separation system to protect the planet. It has set up dedicated collectors for paper. Going a step further, it collects bottle caps at each of its sites for charitable organizations and for the training of guide dogs.

These actions are complemented by its bee activity; it maintains beehives in Paris and Normandy. Besides contirbuting to pollination, the firm shares its honey with its employees and customers in Lisieux, Caen, Honfleur, Le Havre, Dives-sur-Mer, Flers, Deauville and Paris every year! 

Expertise for clients: sustainability

The AFIGEC Group is one of the 30 auditing firms certified by OTI (Independent Third-Party Organizations). This means that it can audit and certify the non-financial information (CSR) of companies within the framework of the legal requirement. Having such information audited by the likes of the AFIGEC Group adds credibility to its accuracy and trustworthiness.

 If a company wants to certify its CSR approach, the AFIGEC Group can help. This may be necessary where, for example:

- a company approaches the AFIGEC Group;

- a subcontractor is required to have this certification to work with a CSR company; or

- there is a call for tender: certification of information.

CSR also means reducing the use of paper by dematerializing customers' workflows. The firm supports its customers in this voluntary approach, for example, by setting up fully paperless organizations with software for invoicing, estimates, expense reports, digital safes, payroll, HR, accounting, legal, etc.

What's next?

The AFIGEC Group is in continuous improvement mode! It aims to become a firm with a decreasing or even zero carbon footprint. It is, therefore, studying possible actions to achieve this goal: what it can improve, where it can consume less and better, and where it cannot, how can it offset its impact.

It will also deploy carbon footprint assessments to its clients in order to measure and communicate their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, whilst proposing solutions to decarbonize their administrative services. A voluntary approach that will make sense for the clients' future employees.

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AFIGEC is one of the best providers of local services. Founded in 1981, today the firm has grown to 7 offices throughout France, and more than 2500 clients. Our 16 partners and 130 professionals, many of whom have had Big 4 firm experience, are always available when our clients need us. Our international team is located in Paris, and we can provide services throughout France. We are an independent firm, and we work with independent professionals. Our experienced team is dedicated to international clients and follows regular training in order to best adapt to any given situation.

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