3 questions for ... Emilie Parnière (AFNOR): "A CSR approach is not a cosmetic approach"


Jan 13, 2021, 11:30 AM

After our thematic December devoted to "Human in the food," up to now the one in January, focused on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

For this first episode, it was Emilie Parnière, regional development engineer at AFNOR Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, who agreed to answer our questions. How to undertake a CSR approach? By what means and for what contributions? So many questions that are answered in this instructive interview.


I am an industrialist. What reflections to lead and how to undertake a CSR approach?

To engage in a relevant and sustainable manner in a CSR approach, an industrialist, or any other representative of an organization, can refer to the elements of method proposed by the ISO 26000 standard. This standard, the result of an international consensus unprecedented, defines social responsibility as the responsibility that an organization exercises vis-à-vis the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, with a view to contributing to sustainable development, including health and well-being of society.

So to begin with, any organization must consider its contribution to sustainable development and define the course it is taking in this area.

Then it must carry out an inventory of its social and environmental impacts over its entire value chain and over the entire life cycle of its product. These impacts can be positive or negative. At the same time, and to refine this inventory, it dialogues with its stakeholders, both internal and external, and collects their expectations and needs. The 7 central questions of ISO 26000 guide her in this exercise. These are essential themes on which any responsible organization must question, act and report. These themes are governance, human rights, working relations and conditions, fair practices, consumer relations, the environment and local development. This diagnosis highlights the priority issues of the organization which will be the basis of its first CSR roadmap.

A CSR approach is not a cosmetic approach , it is a strategic approach that revisits, or even calls into question, the organization, the business model, the daily practices of a company. The good news is that it is now widely demonstrated that corporate responsibility goes hand in hand with economic performance, attractiveness and innovation.

What tools do you offer to effectively support businesses?

It is always useful to refer to voluntary standards which are real methodological guides, ISO 26000 of course, but also its sectoral and thematic variations such as ISO 26 030 for the food industry or ISO 20 400 for responsible purchasing. The AFNOR group offers training to take ownership of its methods and it supports companies at each stage of their CSR process. Finally, AFNOR Certification's “Committed to CSR” label recognizes companies that deploy with seriousness and conviction a CSR approach according to ISO 26,000. This label is based on a robust and transparent reference system and on the expertise of assessors. who visit the company, question its stakeholders and provide a full report on the maturity of the approach, as well as many avenues for improvement that guide the company in its progress.

What are the benefits of a CSR approach for an agrifood company?

Committing to a CSR approach for an agri-food company means demonstrating that it is an essential link in sustainable development , and that it takes up the many challenges that society is throwing at it today. This company will win the trust of consumers, but also of its suppliers, distributors and employees for greater internal cohesion, ease of recruitment and new partnerships that bring innovation.

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