Jacqueline Tammenoms Bakker
What do you find interesting about Vivendi’s sustainable development policy??
A successful sustainable development policy depends first and foremost on the authenticity of the company’s ambitions in this area. And then of course, on its results. I find it particularly valuable that Vivendi has defined its sustainable development policy in terms that are relevant to its main activities and challenges. This approach makes it possible for sustainable development to be an integral part of the Group’s strategy.
The three specific challenges identified by Vivendi – protecting and empowering youth, promoting cultural diversity, and sharing knowledge – demonstrate the Group’s ability to define its responsibilities in a way that is relevant to current and future generations. As a business, Vivendi must continue to satisfy millions of customers by providing original and high-quality content, developing increasingly sophisticated platforms, and investing in ever more advanced telecommunications infrastructures.
The three specific challenges link this business requirement to Vivendi’s ambition to generate “The Best Emotions, Digitally.” Also last but not least, Vivendi’s sustainable development policy represents a shared value for the businesses in the different countries and strengthens a feeling of pride in belonging to the Group amongst its employees.
How does Vivendi’s sustainable development policy support innovation in the Group??
The three strategic challenges defined by Vivendi are in themselves an innovation because they broaden the concept of sustainable development. They demonstrate that the Group has formulated its ambitions positively and concretely, and not defensively or in a limiting way. This approach creates real momentum.The three challenges have also strengthened the relevance of Vivendi’s sustainable development policy to te Group’s innovation efforts. All the businesses feel the need to consider the impact of their innovations on society, in terms – for instance – of protecting young audiences, respecting privacy and personal data, and reducing the digital gap.
But perhaps most importantly, Vivendi’s vision for sustainable development and the innovation objectives of its businesses share a common starting point – the fact that the digital revolution, in which the Group’s businesses are major players, enables new forms of communication and dialogue between individuals and cultures and that brings new opportunities and responsibilities.
To what extent do these three strategic challenges represent added value for the different businesses??
The momentum I mentioned earlier, resulting from the dynamism inherent in continuous sustainable development, nourishes the Group’s business strategy, which combines inventiveness and responsibility. Each business offers interesting examples: Activision Blizzard’s communication with parents to help them guide their children in responsible gaming practices; Universal Music Group’s determination to discover and promote local talent in developing countries; the support Canal+ gives to young filmmakers; SFR’s initiatives like the Telephony and Solidarity Program in partnership with Emmaüs Défi; the special rates Maroc Telecom offers to students to facilitate access to the Internet; and the programs GVT is carrying out in cooperation with the Brazilian Ministry of Education to reduce the digital gap.
Vivendi’s implementation of its sustainable development policy and the results achieved by the different businesses in 2010 earned the Group the top score from the extrafinancial rating agency Vigeo for the “societal impacts of the Group’s products” criterion, which appears to me to be a well-deserved result!
The Supervisory Board, through the Human Resources and Audit Committees, is directly involved in the governance of sustainable development. What are the stages for further progress?
Vivendi’s sustainable development policy is a “natural” subject of reflection for the Supervisory Board. We are all very conscious of Vivendi’s responsibilities toward civil society. First of all, we want to make sure that Vivendi respects its commitments regarding the three strategic challenges. Furthermore, we know that continuous innovation in the businesses requires continuous vigilance to ensure that our products have a positive impact. And I use the word “product” in the broadest sense of the term, including relations with suppliers.
To reflect the importance of measuring the contributions of Vivendi’s and the businesses’ senior executives to the sustainable development challenges defined by the Group, part of their variable remuneration has been linked – from 2010 onwards – to measurable objectives for evaluating the progress of their different initiatives. This means that the Human Resources Committee and the Audit Committee examine these objectives and the indicators associated with them.
Vivendi’s commitment to sustainable development and an associated set of objectives leads to a responsibility for the Supervisory Board to ensure that procedures are in place for evaluating the results. That means that commitments in the area of sustainable development are subject to a similar discipline as that applied to financial results. This discipline illustrates perhaps most concretely that when we speak of sustainable development we are not talking of something that is optional. Independently of the choices that a company makes to demonstrate its responsibility towards civil society, more and more investors are attaching significant importance to a company’s commitment to sustainable development. For me, a well-articulated and concrete sustainable development policy with reliable implementation procedures and results is an essential indicator for the trust that can be placed in the company.
As for the next stages, I would say that the businesses at the heart of Vivendi’s activities must continue to be very agile in adapting to the ongoing challenges and opportunities generated by creative individuals and accelerated by technological developments. And that they should be proactive in accompanying that transformation by working closely with all our partners.
For myself, I hope to contribute to Vivendi’s ambition to be a business which adapts effectively to a highly dynamic technological environment and continues to take very seriously its responsibilities towards its customers, its employees, its shareholders, and its other stakeholders in the different countries where the Group operates.