Orange announced the successful launch of the Sustainability Bond in September. This is an opportunity to review the progress of our CSR approach, which plays a central role in the Group’s strategy. It is based on concrete objectives, which are delivered and measured according to key performance indicators.
Climate change, the depletion of natural resources, growing social inequalities… today’s acute challenges, which have been compounded by the health crisis, are evidence that we cannot continue to live, consume and produce as we’ve done in previous decades. Orange has long understood this and listened to stakeholders to define and integrate corporate social responsibility into its strategy. This translates into a series of commitments that are categorised into concrete action plans – in particular digital equality and reducing environmental impact. In fact, Orange is committed to be Net Zero Carbon by 2040, 10 years earlier than the objectives set by the rest of the sector though the GSMA. This process involves defining precise objectives and monitoring and measuring our performance using non-financial indicators. We firmly believe that CSR is a powerful vector for innovation, an opportunity to adapt to tomorrow’s world and an enabler for sustainable performance.
A strong long-term commitment that guides and brings us together
Orange has always been a committed operator, with an innovation model that places people at the heart of its technology choices. Indeed, our practices even help set new regulations. Since the early 2000s, before the Grenelle II Law (French mandate on sustainability reporting), we already reported on our social and environmental impacts. Communicating our non-financial performance is largely inherited from our former status as state-owned enterprise.
Over the years, our approach has matured further, to the point where today, we report on our non-financial performance using environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria with regards to our Group objectives.
The new regulations mean we combine financial and non-financial reporting and deliver on our commitments based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Analysis Grid. In 2020, we identified the six SDGs where we can make the most positive contribution and where we will report on our progress.
Widely shared, this non-financial performance is also a vector for increasing internal skills, in terms of both environmental matters and digital inclusion. It’s a powerful tool for bringing our employees together around our commitments.
The social and environmental challenges facing business stakeholders are becoming more demanding every day. At Orange, our purpose is now integrated into our bylaws and our two major commitments, to digital equality and to the environment, are at the heart of our strategic plan. Incorporating the SDGs was therefore a logical continuation of our commitments. As an international company and digital player with a strong economic footprint, we have a clear role to play in achieving these global goals, and they should be included in our reporting.
Sharing ever more evidence of our commitments
These commitments fully reflect our purpose, which we added to our company’s bylaws in 2020: “As a trusted partner, Orange gives everyone the keys to a responsible digital world.” This is an important and sustainable foundation for us to build trust with our stakeholders and plan for the future.
Another tangible proof of our desire to build a more sustainable and equitable world is the launch in September of our inaugural Sustainability Bond. The objective is to allocate funds to digital and social inclusion projects and also energy efficiency and circular economy projects. The issue of the Sustainability Bond was met with great success from French and international SRI investors and was five times oversubscribed.
Non-financial performance recognised by independent agencies
Orange ranks well among major ratings agencies, which assess and rank non-financial risk management and provide external, independent recognition of the quality of a company’s non-financial processes. The ratings provide additional input to the Group’s stakeholders, investors and shareholders.
These agencies work on the basis of their own benchmarks and their individual assessments provide different and complementary perspectives of the Group’s overall CSR performance.
Vigeo Eiris, a leading ESG rating agency, has reviewed our sustainability financing framework and delivered its highest level of assurance (“ESI Excellence Europe”) on Orange’s CSR commitments and on the contribution of our Sustainability Bonds to sustainability.
The main challenge for the coming years is to move towards standardising non-financial information. The SDGs could constitute a common framework, accessible to all stakeholders, so that everyone reports on the same terms and information categories in a universal manner, regardless of the country or region.
Want to know more about our CSR actions?
Read our latest Integrated Annual Report available online for the general public along with our Universal Registration Document, regulated information for shareholders or bondholders. Our CSR media library also provides information about our major policies and actions.