“There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.” That’s the warning sounded by climate scientists in the latest report by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as they urge businesses and individuals to take climate action on all fronts if we are to successfully limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit).
For the world’s largest organizations, practicing corporate social responsibility (CSR) is one way of demonstrating that they’re doing this.
The aim of CSR is to show that they’re taking meaningful steps to have a positive economic, environmental and social impact. Over 90% now publish reports on the subject, disclosing how sustainability is part of their business models. This covers everything from creating a safe working environment and reducing their carbon emissions to sourcing less polluting raw materials and supporting local communities.
By focusing on people, profit and the planet – widely called a “Triple-Bottom-Line-Approach” – companies can not only expect CSR to improve their reputations but also strengthen their businesses. Consumers are more likely to spend money with them and employees are more likely to stick around.
As pressure intensifies for businesses to do more to help the planet, here are some examples of corporate social responsibility from global household names who are raising the bar with their own CSR practices:
L’Occitane’s smart, green factory
Known for its natural beauty and cosmetic products, L’Occitane recognizes that its business relies on nature. Its sustainability mission is to positively impact people and regenerate nature. And it’s doing that by improving the eco-design of its product formulas, sustainably sourcing raw materials and reducing the impact of its production on water and land.
You only have to look to its wood-clad, green roofed factory, which blends into the wilderness of the Ardèche region in France, to see that this is a company committed to doing good for the planet. Inside, you’ll see a different kind of CSR in action: L’Occitane is putting the well-being of its staff first. Workstations are configured to promote good posture and comfort for each individual operator. The company is also using virtual twin and simulation technologies to monitor and prevent occupational health hazards such as musculoskeletal issues and mitigate the spread of viruses on the shop floor.
Toyota works towards a better society
Only a few kilometers from its corporate headquarters in Japan, Toyota has been nurturing its own forestry project. Called the Forest of Toyota, it’s recognized for its contributions to a greener society by helping people feel closer to biodiversity and encouraging them to work in harmony with nature.
As part of its corporate social responsibility initiatives, the automotive manufacturer is also committed to promoting and respecting human diversity. It’s a global partner of the Special Olympics, which supports athletes with intellectual disabilities and gives them a platform to train and compete. Toyota said it empathizes with the Special Olympics’ philosophy and wants to help build a more inclusive society.
These are just a couple of many examples of how the company is engaging with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and addressing real social issues through genchi genbutsu (onsite hands-on experience).
Airbus helps local communities with its CSR activities
Global aerospace leader Airbus is acting on its vision to be a force for change and wants to be known for making innovative aircraft and having a positive impact on the world and its citizens. As well as investing in cleaner propulsion technologies and developing greener aircraft, it’s also committed to helping vulnerable communities.
Through the Airbus Foundation, it supports humanitarian efforts such as improving access to clean water for thousands in the Philippines and Kenya, and involvement in the Polar POD expedition, which will look at the impact of climate change in the Southern Ocean. This year, it’s also assisting with training in helicopter emergency medicine (HEMS) for doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners in Nepal, Brazil and Indonesia.
Bouygues’ CSR vision: building a sustainable future
French construction firm Bouygues has made a pledge to make life better every day for as many people as possible. As part of this, its employees are a major shareholder so they can benefit from the company’s success. Meanwhile Bouygues’ climate strategy centers around becoming carbon neutral and supporting its customers to reduce their own carbon footprints.
The company has also embarked on a bold digital transformation journey to support the wider construction ecosystem to be more productive and sustainable. By streamlining its processes from design to fabrication and assembly, the company plans to reduce waste on construction sites and the factory floor. It’s also stepping up the measures it takes to build and renovate more efficiently and responsibly.
PepsiCo promotes healthy living
Popular food and beverage brand PepsiCo calls its own CSR initiative PepsiCo Positive (pep+). Through this program it seeks to build a more sustainable future by addressing everything from how it sources its crops and ingredients to making sure its packaging never becomes waste.
The company also recognizes the role it must play in helping to make society healthier. This includes reducing added sugars, sodium and saturated fat in its products, and coming up with new foods and drinks that deliver important food groups and nutrients to encourage a balanced diet. PepsiCo is also reevaluating serving sizes, improving labeling and developing new packaging that cuts down on its carbon footprint.
CSR at Dassault Systèmes: unlocking sustainable innovation
At Dassault Systèmes, we have a strong CSR policy to keep us accountable and guide us to embed sustainability in everything that we do.
Our technology plays a critical role in this by giving businesses the tools they need to innovate and harmonize their products with wider society and the planet. Through our Sustainability Compass, we’ve also set out clear targets such as supporting diversity and gender equality in the workplace and helping to build the workforce of the future.
We have La Fondation Dassault Systèmes, which backs innovative, not-for-profit projects in the areas of education, scientific research, and heritage to benefit the general public. Its “Made In 3D: Seed the Future Entrepreneurs” program – encouraging students to build exciting new products such as mosquito drones and cattle cleaners – won the 2022 CSR Impact Award.
And you may have heard of our 3DEXPERIENCE Labs, including the new Munich Lab, a program committed to accelerating startups committed to the Sustainable Development Goals. Startups who join the program get free access to Dassault Systèmes software, like the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, are able to use tools like 3D printers and laser cutters, and can get all the support from mentors and experts that they need to bring their ideas to life.