What if you attack the management of the CSR transition thanks to an interim manager?
By its very “living” nature, the agri-food sector is certainly the most challenged by change.
And it is in this way that, nourished by multiple adaptations over the ages, the agri-food industry invents and innovates, thus becoming a supplier and precursor of not only technological but also societal changes. And if there is one area that perfectly illustrates both a structural challenge and an opportunity for the future, it is of course the CSR transition.
Indeed, CSR is now the Totem subject in all the structures of a country which has been strengthening legislation since the Pacte laws of 2019 and the Grenelle II, and sees companies led to take into account social, environmental and societal issues in their decisions and strategy. Note, for example, the obligation of transparency on CSR issues for companies with more than 500 employees (or more than 100 million euros in turnover), or the obligation of prevention and treatment violations of human rights and the environment caused by their activities and those of their subcontractors.
But, to quote Emmanuel Faber, former chairman of Danone: “CSR is not an expense, it is an investment for the future”. If this point of view is gaining more and more consensus, it is true that the implementation of such a paradigm shift requires a skilful management of processes to move to effective performance. Especially since these legal obligations are supplemented by encouragement to join voluntary initiatives, such as the United Nations Global Compact, or to obtain certifications.
Joining the momentum that accompanies CSR, a study by PwC shows that companies with a strong sustainability strategy have a significant competitive advantage, with sales growth 13% higher than those without. In addition, a survey conducted by the Nielsen Group reveals that 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for products from companies committed to sustainable practices, and last but certainly not the least important indicator : A study by the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship tells us that companies with strong CSR performance are more likely to attract and retain the most talented employees.
However, today, the extra-financial performance index (IPEF) indicates that only 25% of CAC40 companies achieve a score above the average on all CSR criteria. As we know very well, change management is a difficult art: the implementation of new practices, the diversification of activities or the adoption of new technologies can involve significant changes for the company, both in culture and structure.
To deliver this constant (r)evolution, interim management, through its agility and speed of adaptation and execution, offers a dynamic and complete solution. This quote from John Storbeck illustrates this concept well: “Transition management is like changing the wheels of a moving car: you have to be fast, precise and adapt to the road conditions”
It is undoubtedly for all these reasons that a 2021 study by the National Federation of Transition Management (FNMT) reveals that the transition management market in France has reached a turnover of 2.5 billion euros. euros in 2020, an increase of 4% compared to 2019 and that the number of interim management assignments continued to increase in 2022, with an increase of 13% compared to 2021.
Indeed, it is precisely through the implementation of new processes that interim managers can bring great added value to companies. Capable of making quick decisions, they are extremely efficient in implementing innovative solutions and the action plans that accompany them by coordinating the various stakeholders. Additionally, transition managers can help companies adopt a more holistic approach to CSR by integrating environmental, social and governance considerations into all facets of their business.
As we can see, the use of an interim manager, capable of taking charge of a project independently and bringing it to completion within the time limits, can be particularly agile for companies, due to the increase in complexity of regulations, the need to adapt to a constantly changing environment, and the difficulty of recruiting qualified talent for temporary assignments, but also because the interim manager brings an external vision to the company. Indeed, having no hierarchical links with the company, he can bring a new and objective look at the situation and thus propose innovative solutions that might not have been considered otherwise.
And we always verify this: every great success begins with a change of thought, and it is most certainly the only way to progress.