The challenge for Sofina was to translate the UN Principles on Responsible Investment into an internal policy through which new processes for investment decision making would be made operational. Simultaneously, however, Sofina’s Corporate Social Responsible (CSR) Committee, comprised of senior members from different parts of the organisation, were looking for expertise to support them to better understand, prioritise and conceptualize other aspects of what it means to be a responsible company.
We partnered with Katrien Rennemeier, a CSR consultant with expertise in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) assessments, project management and performance reporting for large MNCs. Together, we proposed a combined method where we both captured insights from the company itself – in a bottom-up approach – and provided key recommendations based on their external environment – mostly coming from UN frameworks and initiatives from competitors. By doing so, we knew we could end with an exhaustive list of suggestions to further build their CSR policy.
After an intensive screening of all documentation and some interviews, we launched a survey among more than 30 internal stakeholders in order to better understand and rank the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Topics that stakeholders felt Sofina should perform better on or should continue to prioritize. and put them on a Materiality Matrix. The Topics included not only those related to more responsible investment practices (the core business and its external impacts) but also issues around diversity of employees, taking actions to mitigate negative environmental impacts etc. ( the company’s culture and its internal impacts)
We then assigned groups of employees to each key CSR priority and gathered all of them offsite. We facilitated a half-day workshop to translate collected insights – using the quantitative and qualitative outputs of the surveys as well as additional sources of information from CSR committee – into concrete recommendations, by leveraging collective intelligence.
We captured all the findings along the process and made a 50-pages report with our recommendations on the CSR strategy that considered not only a detailed analysis from the survey outputs but also the ‘Theories of Change ‘ that were formulated for each thematic area during the workshops, as well as legislative risks associated with not tackling the issue at hand. Three of the five most material topics were related to the UNPRI, and thus many of our recommendations focus on how the Principles could be integrated into daily practices and processes of the business. Sofina has since built further on the experience with us by also integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into their new CSR Strategy.
‘’ Bastien and I formed a strong and complementary duo in this adventure with Sofina and combined my thematic expertise with his process expertise to carry out quite a unique project I believe! It was a lot of fun.. intense at times… but a really great learning experience too 😊 ! I’m always keen for future collabos with the team at Impact Valley! ‘’
– Katrien Rennemeier, Superhero in charge of the mission SOFINA
Are you thirsty for more information? You should read the extented version of this case in our Annual Report!