Interview : Pierre Fabre committed to a more Sustainable IT

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Pierre Fabre, a French pharmaceutical and dermo-cosmetic group, committed to sustainable and ethical digital, joined the French Institute for Sustainable IT (INR) in January 2021. INR met with Olivier Siegler, Director of Digital Acceleration and Information Systems, Julien Rousseau, Social & Environmental Commitment Leader and Romain Defoy, Director of Omnichannel Activation, who share with us the group’s commitment to a more Sustainable IT.

| Can you introduce Pierre Fabre and its values? 

Julien: Day after day, we develop innovative solutions that contribute to the well-being of everyone. Our approach is based on a unique positioning: « the best of medical and natural products at the service of people ». Our complementary activities, drugs and dermo-cosmetics, allow us to offer a global approach to healthcare.

The Group is owned by the Pierre Fabre Foundation, which has been recognized as a public utility for more than 20 years and works to improve access to quality medicines and care in developing countries. Our employee shareholding is also one of our unique features: we, the Pierre Fabre employees, hold 8.6% of our company’s capital.

We are 9650 employees, present on 5 continents, and we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of our company this year.

Green Mission Pierre Fabre, the eco-socially responsible commitment of our Group (assessed by ECOCERT 26000 level Excellence) is both part of our history and our DNA.

| What is your level of commitment to the NR? How are you implementing it and what are your results?

Olivier: We have had a Sustainable IT Roadmap since last year. Formalizing it was an opportunity for us to look in the rearview mirror to take stock of all the NR actions we had already taken since 2014. A simple gesture can have great effects on the scale of an organization like ours. As an example, the simple act of removing the print queue after 24 hours saved 124 TeqCO² (equivalent to 645,000km by car, 3,800 smartphones, 17,150 meals with beef, 5,370 cotton jeans).

Our current and future actions are aligned with the company’s commitment to respect the 2°C trajectory of the Paris agreements. This implies a 25% reduction in our CO² emissions by 2025 for scopes 1 and 2 and 30% by 2030 for all three scopes.

In concrete terms: the gradual elimination of fixed-line telephony, the deployment of dual-sim mobile telephony, the choice of partners and suppliers who are aligned with the Group’s climate commitment (hosting provider, outsourcer), the elimination of storage areas, and the identification and elimination of obsolete data. These actions are examples of our contribution to the Group’s commitments.

| How do you engage your internal stakeholders on this issue?

Julien: We are an international Group on a human scale with a community of employees who are very committed to CSR issues, and who operate as a network. For example, the webinar organized in March 2021 on the social and environmental impact of digital technology brought together 572 employees live. We also share INR’s work in our internal communities. This bottom-up approach, coupled with the support of our General Management, makes it easier to raise awareness among all stakeholders: CIOs, Purchasing, Brands/Franchises, employees and, in turn, our partners.

| What motivated you to join INR? What is your next step? Are you considering becoming NR-labeled or signing the Charter?

Julien: The Shift (2018) and Ademe (2019) reports on the environmental impact of digital technology made us want to act. But we didn’t always know where to start. We needed tools, methodology, and solid benchmarks to guide our actions. Through INR, we found a participatory and welcoming community of experts and peers who are piloting innovative digital responsibility projects.

Honestly, we haven’t taken the time to sign the (non-binding) Charter until now. We’ve just been acting. We need to take this time and lead by example: both concretely and symbolically (laughs).

Of course, as an industry, digital is not the largest part of our carbon footprint. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t act!

One of our objectives is to register the Group in an NR labeling process in 2023, in order to have our commitments and actions in this area recognized by an external organization.

| What is the benefit(s) of a Sustainable IT approach? What are the benefits of a Sustainable IT approach and membership in the INR?

Olivier: A Sustainable IT approach does not only embody the climate/carbon commitments of an organization. It is often common sense and a source of savings for companies. Sustainable IT is first and foremost sobriety. And contrary to preconceived ideas, sobriety is not synonymous with a sacrificed user experience.

Another virtue of this approach is the awareness and commitment of employees. We propose challenges to employees to reduce their digital footprint. These individual and collective challenges allow us to measure our positive impact, both individually and collectively. In concrete terms, we are participating in Cyber World CleanUp Day. For the second year in a row, we are inviting our 9,650 employees to clean up their data stored unnecessarily in their mailboxes or their unused or obsolete files. This offer of commitment unites the teams and creates links between employees around meaningful actions.

It is a springboard for raising awareness among employees and sharing with them training opportunities on Sustainable IT issues, so that everyone can develop their skills.

Membership of the INR gives us access to pioneering work in the field of digital responsibility. This association offers expertise and commitment, competence, and conviviality.

| How did you reuse the INR GR491? What are the results?

Romain: Pierre Fabre Medical Care France has responsibly designed the Dexeryl website based on the work of the INR, by being beta-testers of the GR491 – Handbook of Sustainable Design of Digital Services. We have integrated 80 criteria of this standard and plan to deploy it for all Medical Care France digital services.

Thanks to the adoption of this standard, we will save 15 TeqCO². It’s a drop in the bucket, but it’s ours! By adopting this standard early on, we are doing our part and we would like to share this commitment with others, through modest feedback. The first concern when you are a marketer is to consider a degradation of the user experience. I can testify that this is not the case: the adoption of this standard does not affect the user experience. The Dexeryl site is a witness to this.