2020 Annual Financial Report

Chapter 4 : Corporate social responsibility – non-financial performance

The policy CSR for Business Guidelines is explicit and demanding on the three aspects related to the application of the law on the duty of care: human rights and fundamental freedoms, health and safety of people, environmental impacts.

This policy is included as an appendix to all calls for tenders and is part of the contractual clauses signed between Publicis Groupe and its suppliers. This document is publicly available in CSR Smart data and is communicated to suppliers when contracts are renewed. Non-compliance with any one of these 12 guidelines is a non-selection criterion. For certain activities, such as security and cleaning, which are carried out by small local businesses, the Groupe makes sure that it regularly assesses its local suppliers regarding their respect of human rights, and all social and societal criteria. In several countries, the Groupe has signed specific commitments such as the Modern Slavery Act in the United Kingdom, or the BBBEE – level 1 (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) in South Africa, which requires specific local compliance on certain human rights issues such as the fight against human trafficking, or related to labor law such as the fight against all forms of discrimination.

CSR assessment: this is structured as follows:

  • third-party CSR assessment (EcoVadis, Refinitiv, Sedex or other): since 2015, the Groupe’s Procurement Department introduced systematic CSR assessment for all strategic suppliers. Publicis Groupe works with the EcoVadis platform and invites its strategic partners to be assessed by an external third party.In 2015, these assessments were undertaken for 40% of the volume of purchases from strategic suppliers. In 2020, they covered 85% of central suppliers assessed; the objective is to conduct assessments for 100% of central purchasing volumes;
  • CSR self-assessment via PASS (Publicis Groupe Platform for Providers’ Assessment for a Sustainable Supply-chain). This proprietary Groupe platform was created for SMEs that are less familiar with the process of third-party CSR assessment; It allows the Groupe’s local and agency buyers to ask local suppliers to carry out a free self-assessment, with which they must comply. This self-assessment is then validated on the basis of documentary compliance criteria by the CSR Department. This transparent self-assessment based on around 50 key questions makes it possible to validate whether the supplier meets the criteria and priorities set by the Groupe. More than 100 suppliers (China, India, Vietnam, Hong Kong, United States, France, United Kingdom, Germany, etc.) were assessed on PASS in 2020, each of whom received individualized support during this year of ramp-up of the platform;
  • complementary sectoral CSR self-assessment via PASS: the Groupe’s production and events activities can assess their suppliers on appropriate complementary aspects in relation to the characteristics of certain sectors. Additional question modules in PASS are enabled for these suppliers.

CSR assessment by an independent third party

  • In 201540%
  • In 202085%

The CSR assessment is worth 20% of the final rating awarded to tender responses submitted by suppliers.

The Groupe and agencies’ procurement policy is proactive in terms of eco-responsible, eco-designed products from the circular economy or that have been responsibly sourced or have a recognized environmental certification.

Supplier Diversity

Publicis Groupe works with a large number of local SMEs and VSEs, and recognizes that diversity among suppliers is essential because it is a source of innovation and agility. As such, and in compliance with the legislation in force in each country where the Groupe operates, the Groupe encourages so-called diverse suppliers (led by an ethnic minority, women, LGBT people, disabled people, etc.) to participate in tenders, as well as suppliers from the social and solidarity economy or social entrepreneurs. This proactive approach is conducted in many countries such as the United States or Canada (companies run by minorities), the United Kingdom or India (companies managed by women or with disabled employees) or in South Africa. In France, the Groupe works with companies in the Social and Solidarity Economy, or sheltered-workshop organizations and companies (ESAT and EA). In 2020, the Groupe continued its project to increase the share of purchases made from this type of supplier, and implemented a new, more comprehensive system to improve efficiency, which will be fully operational in 2021.

The Groupe has made specific commitments on the inclusion of suppliers headed by women, as part of the Women’s Forum and Women & Business Daring Circle, in partnership with WEConnect International, and UN Women through the “We Empower” program in the G7 countries.

In the United States, the Groupe has been active for several decades in a number of areas:

  • direct management of a portfolio of suppliers which are “Diverse Supplier” certified, with which relationships of trust have existed for many years. This is the case of Leo Burnett in Chicago, which has been working for decades with a portfolio of around 500 accredited diverse suppliers of which 52% are women-owned, 21% minority-owned, and 25% very small enterprises;
  • calling on an expert partner specializing in Supplier Diversity, providing access to a greater number of certified, qualified suppliers in relation to the needs of the agencies, and accessible in the cities where the Groupe operates;
  • partnerships with dedicated organizations such as the NMSDC (National Minority Supplier Diversity Council) or the WBENC (Women Business Enterprise National Council) for their support programs for suppliers in the process of certification.