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Montpellier Métropole leads the way with Global Compact France

Information updated on 26/10/21

By becoming a member, Montpellier Métropole intends to encourage the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals throughout its territory’s business community.

✿ Global Compact France : prenez part au mouvement ! @david maugendre
The commitment makes good sense. Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole has become a member of Global Compact France, the French relay for the international Global Compact organization, proposed in 2000 by Kofi Annan, then General Secretary of the United Nations, to create a structure that mobilizes countries and companies to “include human factors in the global market.”
The membership was made official on September 29 during the Global Compact Tour de France on its stopover in Montpellier. It was a symbolic occasion, with this being the first membership for a metropolis in France, marking strong desire by local authorities to play an active role in building a world that respects the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 10 principles laid out in the by-laws of the Global Compact regarding human rights, international labor rights, the environment, and the fight against corruption.
The goal of Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole’s commitment is to trigger the dynamics for its territory’s business community to adopt the goals and principles embodied by the Global Compact.

“We are going to demonstrate good practices and build momentum that unites all stakeholders, companies, and economic players. We will only be successful if everyone is involved,” highlights Michaël Delafosse, Mayor of Montpellier and President of Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole.

That is precisely why Montpellier Métropole is leading the way, having set goals for itself as well, including indicators for monitoring. Bruno Duval, vice president of Global Compact France adds:

“Montpellier Métropole has established a very precise action plan, with ambitious goals, whereas they were not obliged to do so. They go even further by focusing on their own operation in order to reduce environmental impact, greenhouse gas, and resource consumption.”

The method is firmly established. Inspiration is needed to kick-start the momentum. The groundwork has been laid and the context is favorable.

“Networks that unite companies are clearly positioned to show that they are ready. We will not have to convince them. They are ready to move forward. We just have to get together around the table and talk about what aspects they are interested in, so that we can get started on a number of different objectives, particularly solidarity and ecological transition,” says Michaël Delafosse.

The context is truly favorable. In 2020, more than one third of French companies were already referring to the Sustainable Development Goals as part of their ongoing policy. Others join every day. Their motivation: “73% of company directors expect that pressure to take action will only increase” in the coming years, explains Émilie Bobin, partner at PwC France. She adds: “Friendly pressure also comes from customers and investors.
Her words are illustrated by the company directors invited to two round tables, expressing their opinions on innovative initiatives and companies to protect the environment, and on social innovation as an economic lever.
Thomas Zunino, CEO of T.Zic, points out that his company systematically includes consideration for “several SDGs” when planning its “impactful products.” A member of Global Compact France for the past five years, the company Olinn IT made the same comment. Drôle de Pain is established as a social insertion company.
And, Sÿnia is a signatory of the local Companies and Districts Charter. “I believe in responsible growth,” summarizes Sylvain Maillard, the company’s director. He also wants to transform his company into an “Entreprise à Mission,” a French status defining mission-oriented companies with social, societal, and environmental goals. That is already the case for MedinCell, whose focus is on “trust.”

“We have lofty ambitions. For our company to reach them, our employees must be able to give us their absolute best,” comments Christophe Douat, CEO.

All these testimonials clearly show that taking sustainable development goals into account for corporate operations is a factor that contributes significantly to overall performance.

“While social innovation may be delicate in the first stages of implementation, let us be clear that it is a real business lever over the long-term,” concludes Antoine Soive, director of Drôle de Pain. The company was founded in 2012 and now has six sales outlets.

Leading by example!

Images from the event

Montpellier street artist Sunra unveiled a new piece at the event. With deep poetic meaning, his painting was in total harmony with the day’s theme. It portrays a scene with a woman, who we imagine as being a mother or teacher, sliding a heart into a globe handed to her by a child. “I wanted to present the Earth as a piggy-bank to which we (adults) give, and which will be able to give a lot in return” to future generations, comments Sunra.  Michaël Delafosse adds: “You make our city beautiful with your art. We are proud that you are from Montpellier and that your message is universal. It is very inspiring for us all.
Enthusiastic pitches by students from Jean-Monnet high school were also a high point for the event, alongside entrepreneur Pierre Alzingre. It was a unique occasion for everybody to get on board with sustainable development goals and share a desire for entrepreneurship and innovation to make a better world!
Éric Servat, Director of the UNESCO International Center for Water Resources “ICIREWARD” at University of Montpellier, was the guest of honor for the Global Compact France stopover in Montpellier.

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