In 2009, a voluntary commitment agreement for French retailers was established which, to date, has been signed by 30 companies. A benchmark system to demonstrate true commitment has subsequently been introduced, leading to the development of a “Responsible Retailer label” in 2015.

As part of the conference OF THE PARTIES (COP21) in Paris in December, the association and its members presented the “responsible retailer” IMPROVEMENT AND certification scheme in the Trade and Climate Pavilion at the Grand Palais.

On 10 July 2015, the “Responsible Retailer Label” initiative secured official government backing at this event, which also included conference-debates on the challenges of climate disruption.

THE “Responsible Retailer Label”

The promise

Reassure and inform business partners, and subsequently consumers, about the company’s true commitment and its priorities for improvement. Show the results and promote actions undertaken to create value (brand preference, innovative products and services, etc.).

  • What is my retail company doing for the environment?
  • What is my retail company doing for better consumption and increasing buying locally?
  • What is my retail company doing to inform its customers about its products and services?
  • What is my retail company doing to improve its sales outlets?
  • What is my retail company doing for the well-being of its business partners?
  • What is my retail company doing to strengthen social links and solidarity?

 

The aim

Boost commitment by a principle of evaluating retailer activities that is clear and verifiable.

Consolidate the approach of retailers having signed the voluntary commitment agreement for organised trade networks by introducing a “Responsible Retailer” label of recognition with help and support from the three long-standing Club Génération Responsable partners, the SGS Group, Generali France and Synergence, together with support from the Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development.

The arguments

  1. After 3 years, the signatory retailers to the agreement set up a reporting process on their approach and their priority actions undertaken with the help of benchmark indicators developed by SGS, the association and its member retailers (levels 1 – 5 of “attention to excellence”)
  2. These results are presented to the Steering Committee comprising representatives of the Club, SGS, The Ministry of Ecology, the French Franchise Federation, the Associated Trade Federation and officials from the retail sector and CSR.
  3. In 2015, 11 new retailers joined the panel of signatory companies.

8 retailers have presented their evaluations to the Steering Committee which awards them the RESPONSIBLE RETAILER LABEL:

  • LEVEL 3: Groupement des Mousquetaires
  • LEVEL 2: Bonobo, Maisons du Mondes and Sephora
  • LEVEL 1: Brico Dépôt, Picard and the La Poste network.

 

The proof

This Label of Recognition helps retailers express the consideration and degree of their voluntary commitment, but also to communicate their activities in a clear, understandable and verifiable manner, both internally and externally.

 

The VOLUNTARY commitment of retailers supported by the association

In 2015, 11 new retail companies signed the voluntary commitment agreement for organised trade retailers in the presence of the Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development and two trade associations, the Associated Trade Federation (FCA) and the French Franchise Federation (FFF).

 

Synergy between actions

The voluntary commitment agreement highlights the common challenges stemming from widely varying sectors but which are representative of an economic model for subsidiaries or independent trade networks (franchises, affiliated-members, cooperatives, etc.).

Its purpose is to set out sector-based commitments to be defined with signatory retailers and monitored by the General Commission for Sustainable Development, working under the Ministry of Ecology.

  • In 2009, the basis of the “Responsible Retailer Programme” was developed in the form of a joint commitment agreement which was submitted for revision in 2011 to the Ministry of Ecology, the French Franchise Federation and the Associated Trade Federation.
  • 2011 – 20 retailers were engaged and declared their willingness to sign the agreement:
    ALTERMUNDI – CARTRIDGE WORLD – CASH EXPRESS – COURTEPAILLE – FORUM SANTÉ – GUY HOQUET – HAPPY – HSBC FRANCE – KFC FRANCE – KUYICHI – LE RÉSEAU LA POSTE – L’OCCITANE – LA MIE CÂLINE – MONCEAU FLEURS – NATURE & DÉCOUVERTES – PHARMA RÉFÉRENCE – RAPID FLORE – SFR – SWITCHER – VIADYS.
  • 2015 – 11 new member companies joined the panel of signatories when the “Responsible Retailer” Label was introduced: BIOCOOP, GROUPE BEAUMANOIR, BRICO DEPOT, GROUPE ERAM, LES MOUSQUETAIRES, MAISONS DU MONDE, McDONALD’S France, OPTIC 2000, PICARD, SEPHORA and TRUFFAUT.

 

The agreement signatories made challenge-specific commitments with operational targets and indicators for each challenge on:   

  • Environmental responsibility
  • Water and biodiversity
  • Social responsibility and human resource management
  • Consumer information and guidance on consumer choices towards more responsible products and services.
  • Local and territorial integration
  • Governance
  • Evaluation and reporting

 

These commitments are governed by 4 general principles:

  • A continuous improvement process that must serve as the basis for developing occupation and sector-based operational commitments.
  • A moral commitment to implementing the process through actions by retailers and sales and promotion outlets geared to the company’s network managers, franchisees, affiliate members or network members.
  • A willingness to review activities undertaken and difficulties encountered on an annual basis, particularly by introducing reporting and dedicated indicators.
  • An open mind-set to share good practice between occupations and between sectors.

 

Support from trade associations

At the behest of the Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development, the Club Génération Responsable®, the French Franchise Federation and the Associated Trade Federation met in August 2011 to commit to, and jointly promote, from a sustainable development perspective, improvements to the social and environmental quality of organised trade retailers which they represent. This included, in particular, a focus on improving their operational management activities.

 

Public authority support

On 25 March 2013, the Ministry of Ecology’s General Commission for Sustainable Development provided written encouragement and public authority backing for the activities of the Club Génération Responsable® in favour of sustainable development in the organised trade sector.

The commitment benchmark

As signing the “Responsible Retailer” agreement is just the start of the commitment networks make in terms of corporate responsibility, the Club offers retailers the opportunity to prove their true commitment by tangible actions as part of an improvement process. This involves a methodology to be adopted expressing the agreement as a benchmark for verifiable commitments and, finally, a methodology to recognise and promote various actions.