‘Sustainable capitalism’ can stem the tide of populism: Michelin CEO


The practice of corporate social responsibility, which aims to ensure companies conduct business ethically and with consideration for their societal and environmental impact, is on the rise. According to the World Economic Forum, out of the $85 trillion in assets under management globally, $23 trillion include environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) data in their investment criteria — and this is growing by 25 percent a year, according to Bloomberg.

And according to a report by data analytics firm Nielsen, 66 percent of consumers surveyed across 60 countries are willing to pay more for goods from environmentally-conscious companies.

Michelin in 2013 dedicated itself to more effectively integrate its sustainable development governance system into every part of the company’s business. It created an 11-member Sustainable Council chaired by the CEO, Senard, and set six targets to fulfil by 2020 to promote efforts toward sustainable mobility.

These goals included reducing Michelin sites’ ecological footprints by 50 percent, developing a responsible supply chain, and reducing carbon emissions by 10 percent. They also aim to ensure a majority of the tire producer’s suppliers are compliant with its environmental standards, and contribute to local employment by creating 2,000 jobs per year. Michelin is also a signatory of the UN Global Compact and an official partner of the COP21 climate conference.

This is what Senard hopes will become what he calls “a favorable corporate social responsibility.”

“If you live in that context and you create this ecosystem, then you generate what I’d call sustainable capitalism,” he said. “And it is very important because if you are consistent with your actions then people feel much more committed, much more engaged. It’s a very powerful way to stop the populism which is growing on the fear that this capitalism is going to grow everywhere and just crush everybody in the daily life.”

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