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The « societe a mission »
in 5 questions

Should a company be useful - beyond its customers, its employees, its shareholders - to society as a whole? The answer was yes for the State when he introduced into law in 2019 the possibility for a company to declare itself a "societe à mission". Let's decipher this ambitious facility together.

1. What’s a « societe a mission » ?

The expression « entreprise a mission » or « societe a mission » refers to a type of business whose purpose, whose “foundational meaning”, makes it possible to reconcile economic performance and contribution to the general interest, whether from a social, societal or environmental point of view.

This practice, in force in the United States for about ten years now, was subsequently adopted in several forms in different countries. In France, the concept was introduced through the Pacte law. Article 176 of this law of May 22, 2019, relating to the growth and transformation of companies, indeed refers to the quality of a "societe a mission". And in this process, it is up to the company to publicly state its quality of “societe a mission” by specifying its foundational meaning. It is also up to it to define one or more social and environmental goals that it sets for itself.

2. What is the link with “CSR”, Corporate Social Responsibility ?

Older, the CSR concept already aimed to set social, societal and environmental objectives for a company. From this angle, the "societe a mission” is fully based on a CSR-type logic.

However, the concept of “mission” stands out on one essential point: when CSR often tends to standardize and normalize approaches and actions, the “mission”, on the other hand, takes on a form of singularity. The “societe a mission” also goes further in terms of commitment and positioning.

3. What are the main fundamentals of a “societe a mission” ?

First element: the foundational meaning must be legally enshrined in the statutes. Second requirement: the "mission" must be part of a proactive approach of solving a problem with non-profit issues. The statutes define not only the mission, but also the fact that the company's stakeholders are committed to fulfill it and under what conditions. The statutes also specify the reporting and evaluation mechanisms for this mission, as well as its governance.

4. Mission, commitment, governance, evaluation, how to apply these main principles ?

The mission must be clearly formulated - for example "to make each resident feel at home" - so that we understand how the foundational meaning of the company contributes to the common good, but also to unite the teams and help with decision making.

The commitments constitute the strategic and operational translation of the mission: "improve communication with residents, better train staff to strengthen support for the elderly", for example. All with specific objectives, a work schedule and allocation of responsibilities.

Governance must allow the mission to be carried out jointly by shareholders, managers, employees and external stakeholders. To this end, a mission committee bringing together these different actors must be set up.

Finally, the evaluation of the mission is at least annual and presented in the report drawn up by the mission committee. Externally, an accredited independent organism, made mandatory by decree n°2020-1 of January 2, 2020, must oversee the proper achievement by the “societe a mission” of the social and environmental objectives that the company has legally assigned to itself.

5. Since its creation in France, how successful has this status been ?

The observatory of “societes a mission” mentions 88 companies at the end of 2020 and more than 100 as of February 4, 2021, in fields as varied as cosmetics (Yves Rocher), mutuals (MACIF, MAIF), banking (Credit Mutuel alliance federal ), the press (Les Echos - Le Parisien group), the food industry (Danone), clothing (Le slip français), digital (Digital4better) or health (Vivalto). In the sector of care for the elderly or disabled people, the start-up Alenvi, active in CSR and autonomous organization, is a pioneer in adopting the status of “societe a mission”.

Colisee is the first major player in the nursing home sector to pass under this status. A commitment likely to bring about a real qualitative change in the support of aging well.
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About Colisee
With 16 000 collaborators, COLISEE Group is a leading European player with benchmark expertise in serving and caring for the elderly. Its network of medical facilities and residences with services in France, Belgium, Spain, Italy and China welcomes more than 25 000 residents and patients. Colisée offers also home services. Its majority shareholders are EQT and CDPQ.
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