By including its purpose and social and environmental commitments in its articles of association, French ICMIF member MAIF says it has chosen to strengthen the impact of its actions by making them measurable and enforceable. This decision was made during an extraordinary general meeting held remotely on 11 July 2020 that the MAIF elected officials adopted a proposal that the mutual insurance company would officially be known as a société à mission* (in English, a company with a mission).
A mission monitoring committee and an independent third-party body will be responsible for checking that the company’s future actions are in line with its stated mission. In addition, the Group is extending its product offering to companies, as well as individuals, which will enable organisations with a similar ethos and desire to make a positive impact in society to become members of MAIF.
MAIF makes its commitments public and includes them in its statutes
Wishing to develop a business model where sustainable performance is based on sincere attention paid to all its stakeholders and to the world, MAIF has included its raison d'être and its commitment to pursue social and environmental objectives in the organisation’s statutes. This is in keeping with the requirements to be classed as a company with a mission. These include:
- Place the interests of its members at the heart of its activities;
- Foster, through sincere attention, the development of its internal stakeholders through sincere attention within a committed collective;
- Contribute to the construction of a more united society through its activities;
- Contribute to an ecological transition through its activities;
- Promote the development of business models engaged in the search for positive impacts.
These targets, when submitted for approval to the general assembly on 11 July, were adopted by nearly 99% of voters.
Commitments that reaffirm the desire to act in favour of the common good
The publication of these objectives is nothing new for MAIF the organisation says, but the extension, reaffirmation and deepening of an approach already initiated and included in MAIF's 2019-2022 strategic plan. For example, over the past year, the Group has implemented the following measures:
- MAIF Avenir, the Group's innovation capital fund, has developed its investment thesis by adopting in turn the status of a mission company. It targets start-ups which place social, societal and environmental issues at the heart of their project.
- In June 2019, the Group launched MAIF Transition, an investment fund for energy and agricultural transition in France, in partnership with Akuo Energy. Endowed with 50 million euros with the objective of reaching EUR 400 million, its ambition is to finance projects throughout France intended to promote the production of renewable energies and quality agriculture, thanks to innovative methods to resolve land use conflict.
- These positive commitments translated into positive results for MAIF in 2019 in all of the Group's activities as seen below.
- Service provided to members: Loyalty rate of MAIF members of 95.6%.
- HR commitments: increased diversity with 6.49% of employees with disabilities and a score of 99/100 on the Pénicaud index, measuring equal pay for women and men.
- Responsible investments: EUR 1.18 billion intended to finance projects or companies providing solutions to the energy and ecological transition. Which an increase of EUR 238 million compared to 2018.
- Use of recycled parts for auto repairs: MAIF increased its share of used auto parts to 7.70% in 2019.
- Supplies: 97.7% of purchases are made in France and 97% of suppliers are located in France.
- Energy transition: MAIF, in partnership with Énergie Partagée, has designed a tailor-made insurance offer to support domestic use of solar powered energy.
A mission committee and an independent third-party body responsible for monitoring the execution of MAIF’s objectives
By setting up a mission committee responsible for monitoring the execution of the organisation’s mission, MAIF has given itself an obligation to achieve good results. Composed of around ten members, the committee will bring together two MAIF employees and independent external experts. The members of this committee will be introduced in October 2020.
MAIF has also included in its articles of association the obligation to appoint an independent third-party body responsible for verifying the performance of the mission and producing an opinion on that performance.
In fact, if this body considers that one or more objectives are not being met by a company then that organisation may lose the right to claim the status of a company with a mission.
Opening membership of MAIF to other organisations
MAIF says it is convinced that working with other companies is essential for building a more united and sustainable society and the Group wishes to collaborate with other organisations with a similar raison d'être and values and for these organisations to become members. The Group's ambition is to support its business model through its development strategy and by making B2B a priority.
MAIF’s raison d'être:
"Convinced that only sincere attention paid to others and to the world can guarantee a real increase in the common good, we, MAIF, place this intention at the heart of each of our commitments and of each of our actions."
Dominique Mahé, Chairman of the MAIF Group said: "We are convinced that many companies share our will to act and are ready to commit to a more humane, more sustainable and more united society. We want to encourage them to join us and become MAIF members to create a community of commitments and destinies. For us, this is a way of acting in a positive way towards the common good and reaffirming our status as an innovative and model company. "
Pascal Demurger, Managing Director of the MAIF Group said: "We wanted to demonstrate by our actions that it is possible to reconcile ethics and performance. Today, by making our social and environmental objectives public, we are taking a further step and giving the opportunity to external actors to measure the consistency between our actions and our mission. It is a guarantee of sincerity, and a new requirement in the business world."
*What is a “société à mission” in France
The majority of French people consider that a company must be useful for society as a whole, even before its customers, employees and shareholders, the public authorities noted that the definition of a company, in French law, did not recognise the notion of social interest.
Article 176 of the law of 22 May 2019 relating to the growth and transformation of businesses, known as the Pacte law, introduced the status of a “société à mission”. It allows a company to publicly state that it is a “company with a mission” by specifying its raison d'être (reason for being) as well as one or more social and environmental objectives that the company sets for itself as part of its mission.
Decree 2020-1 of 2 January 2020 specified the declarations that a company must make when applying for registration as a “société à mission” as well as the verification which must be carried out by an independent third-party body on the execution by the company of the social and environmental objectives mentioned in its statutes.