The first lockdown prompted numerous demonstrations of solidarity. Several players joined forces to implement an innovative system for distributing hygiene kits to the most disadvantaged people, along with solutions for access to water for people living in precarious conditions. More details from Croix-Rouge Insertion, Fondation Vinci pour la Cité, Fondation Crédit Agricole Solidarité et Développement, Fondation Eiffage and Icade.
On March 17, 2020, France stood still, pushing the most deprived groups of people even further into the unknown. The coronavirus was circulating and protective measures were imposed. But how could they be put into practice when living in precarious conditions with no soap or water? How could we ensure the now vital hygiene in camps, squats or shantytowns?
The NGOs Médecins du Monde and Solidarités International, which have a strong presence on the ground, responded by providing water connections and distributing hygiene kits. In practical terms, shower gel, tissues, soap, toothbrushes and nappies were distributed in transparent bags. It was still necessary to finance these purchases and find a partner capable of putting together several hundred kits during the lockdown. The Veolia Foundation offered Croix-Rouge Insertion (CRI), a subsidiary of the French Red Cross, its financial support so that its employees on work integration schemes could put the kits together. The aim was for CRI to be able to continue its important work to combat job insecurity by expanding employment - even during lockdowns.
Several private sector actors stepped in to finance the purchase of the products and the work of CRI, and also provide access to water where there was none. Fondation Vinci pour la Cité, Fondation Crédit Agricole Solidarité et Développement, Fondation Eiffage and the real estate operator Icade were all involved. Over just a few weeks, several hundred kits were put together, transported and distributed by the NGOs (Médecins du Monde, Solidarités International, Autremonde, ASAV 92, etc.), particularly in the Ile-de-France region and the Toulouse area. A novel system for pooling resources to help the forgotten people on the streets and ensuring that the French Red Cross's urgent work of integration continues, in spite of lockdowns.
Mathieu AlesiFondation Vinci pour la Cité
Acting together to give the same commitment more impact is very effective.
The lockdown and the health crisis had an immediate impact on the most vulnerable people: thanks to our network of partners, we quickly realized there was a problem. Our approach has been to support populations on the front line, in schools, hospitals, health and social services. A dedicated budget of €10 million was made available to support the voluntary sector and we have adapted our internal procedures to speed up the allocation of aid.
We thought Veolia Foundation's approach seemed very logical: trustworthy partners united around a well-constructed project is a factor for success! Acting together to give the same commitment more impact is very effective.
The Fondation Vinci pour la Cité supports associative projects working for the social or professional integration of the most underprivileged people. Mathieu Alesi is responsible for innovation and social entrepreneurship.
Tien PhanCrédit Agricole CIB
Because there was a health emergency and because this type of action cultivates social ties and overcomes isolation.
The projects supported by Fondation Crédit Agricole Solidarité et Développement (CASD) are partly undertaken by employees of the Group within the framework of the Covid-19 emergency fund. In this case, it was Veolia's senior banker who submitted the proposal presented by the Veolia Foundation in partnership with Croix Rouge Insertion - strong action against the background of a very particular context. We supported the production and distribution of hygiene kits for the elderly because there was a health emergency and because this type of action nurtures social ties and overcomes isolation. Our credo is "All mobilized for our seniors".
The project supporting Croix Rouge Insertion is one of the 2,600 field projects selected between April and July 2020. We also worked on culture and digital access, notably in nursing homes. Almost 10,500 tablets and 2,700 Wifi terminals were distributed in 2,200 establishments to enable the elderly to maintain contact with their loved ones and access remote services.
The Fondation Crédit Agricole Solidarité et Développement acts to promote the socio-economic autonomy of people in France. Virginie Percevaux has been the Executive Officer since the summer of 2017. Tien Phan is responsible for image and brand, communication, corporate philanthropy and CSR at Crédit Agricole CIB, the corporate and investment banking arm of the Crédit Agricole Group.
Diane DurandFondation Eiffage
It is a real social innovation that has an impact on several levels.
Against the backdrop of the crisis, the Fondation Eiffage could not stand idly by. We decided to support projects that responded to the health emergency or that mitigated the severe impact of the crisis on economic and social circumstances. Fondation Eiffage’s DNA lies in supporting social and professional integration projects. In the unprecedented context, we have extended our scope to other players working either on the ground or in the social sphere.
The budget dedicated to the crisis enabled us on the one hand to renew our support for partners that are already part of our history (Emmaus Défi, RéaVie, and Table de Cana in particular) along with providing support to new associations such as Secours Populaire, Protection Civile, and on the other hand to respond to the request made by the Veolia Foundation. The scheme built with the Croix-Rouge Insertion and Solidarités International for pooling resources was quite novel. The foundations worked together and associations shared their expertise in the field. It is real social innovation that has an impact on several levels.
The next step is for us to get to know these advocacy partners better and continue the relationship we have begun with them.
The Fondation Eiffage finances projects sponsored by Eiffage Group employees that promote professional integration. Diane Durand, who reports to Executive Officer Frédérique Alary, has been project manager for the past six years.
The initiative delivered on our commitment to inclusion.
From the beginning of the crisis, our goal has been to find the right balance between taking part in the national solidarity effort, the economic realism that led us to support our tenants, and safeguarding the interests of our company. For us, it was a question of making dialogue central to our crisis management processes, whether it involves our employees and their representatives or all our stakeholders.
Very quickly, 140,000 masks were donated to firefighters, police and health facility personnel. Our employees also showed great solidarity by donating to various associations and initiatives - all of which were matched by Icade to the tune of one euro for every euro donated. A solidarity fund was also set up for people financially impacted by the crisis.
We had no hesitation at all in joining the Veolia Foundation's initiative: firstly, because it fell within the solidarity actions that we had deployed, and secondly because it enabled us to keep work integration schemes busy at the same time as meeting the needs of the most disadvantaged people without easy access to hygiene facilities during the crisis. The initiative was a response to our commitment to inclusion.
Our mobilization continues today in the face of the ongoing health crisis. For example, we have just renewed our appeal for donations from our employees to help associations fighting extreme poverty - for example Restaurants du Cœur and Secours Populaire Français. Once again, Icade will donate one euro for every euro donated to these associations.
Real estate operator, Icade designs, builds, invests and manages innovative, mixed-use, inclusive, connected and low carbon footprint locations. Flore Jachimowicz is a member of Icade's executive committee with responsibility for CSR and innovation.