By the side of the truck road to the port of Paranaguá sits Borda do Campo, one of the poorest districts in the city of Sao José dos Pinhais. In the mid-1990s Renault do Brazil built a plant on the other side of the highway exit ramp, generating an explosion in the population of São José. From 132,000 in 1992, the city’s population has grown to over 300,000 today. Poor families have been drawn to the city by the promise of a better life. Many of them now live in Borda do Campo. Some of them have found jobs, but most have been confronted by the ills afoot in Brazilian society, including the informal economy, domestic violence, drug trafficking and prostitution.
But in 2002, the women of Borda do Campo decided to take control of their destiny. They started by planting a community vegetable garden to feed their children, at the same time forming an organization called Borda Vida. Rose, a former beneficiary who now chairs the organization, tells us:“The area was almost dead. The name ‘Borda Vida’ gave it new life.” In 2005, Renault do Brasil gave the organization two vehicles and provided it with financial support. More projects soon followed, including a community kitchen and a “Sewing House”, and relations between Renault do Brasil and Borda Vida became closer. “We have a responsibility towards the communities that we work in,” says Sivia Barcik, Deputy Director of the Renault do Brasil Institute. “Encouraging the ecosystem created by Borda Viva, which works on access to education, food security, the fight against poverty and women’s liberation, was an obvious move.” In 2010, when the plant ordered anti-hail nets for its new vehicle stock from a subcontractor, it was the organization’s sewers who took care of the order. “This very large contract helped us to develop our work and reach out to a lot more women in the community,” says Rose.
The Borda Viva house, built in 2015, now forms the core of the district. Women prepare 120 meals a day there for a restaurant open to the public. They have also developed a catering business for companies in the area, including Renault do Brasil. More than 130 children eat at the organization’s canteen every day, or take part in after-school activities there. The Sewing House is run by nine self-employed women and has hired a fashion designer to create two collections a year using left-over fabrics and recycled materials.
Their bags, made from seat-belt straps, are even sold on the Champs-Elysées at Atelier Renault.So what does the future hold in store “There are other communities beyond the highway,” says Rose. “What we have done, they can do too, and we are going to help them do so.”
Since it began its work the organization has served 337,176 meals, and 1,338 children from 446 families have benefited from the project. Every year since 2010, fund-raising campaigns have financed Christmas presents and winter clothes for nearly 3,000 children.
Thirty-two women women have been trained by the cooking school, 16 of whom have been hired by the organization or companies in the region. Thus far, 69 women have been trained by the Sewing House.
The mothers supported by the organization have become more independent, more active and more concerned by the community through their real-life contribution to the work of the organization. And through the community-minded values of solidarity, mutual support and entrepreneurship specific to the Borda Vida project, they have become more empowered in their quest to improve their living conditions.
Difficulties accessing mobility constitute a key obstacle to social and professional integration or reintegration. To solve this social problem in an entrepreneurial manner, Groupe Renault introduced the Mobiliz solidarity program in 2012 based on the principles of social business. Developed in cooperation with partners from the charity sector, academia and public organizations, Mobiliz comprises three components: the commitment of Renault Socially Responsible Garages, which volunteer to provide program beneficiaries with quality products and services at preferential prices; the work of the Mobiliz Invest SAS investment company, which provides financing and support for businesses offering innovative high-impact mobility solutions for socioeconomically disadvantaged people; and Renault’s sponsorship of the Business & Poverty Chair at HEC business school and its participation in the Business and Poverty Action Tank, which seeks to contribute to a more inclusive society that creates more economic and societal value.
Since its creation in 2001, the Renault Foundation has enabled over 950 students of 35 nationalities to benefit from a grant to join leading-edge training programs in multicultural management, road safety and sustainable mobility. The Foundation has an educational and humanist remit to train new generations in tomorrow’s trades so as to help them succeed in a global and multicultural professional world. The Foundation’s five programs take a forward-looking stance to future needs while fostering equal opportunities and intercultural relations.
At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Renault committed in five countries to seven athletes, forming the Renault Handisport Team to help change mind-sets about disabilities. With four gold medals, three silvers and two bronze the team put in a stellar performance at the Games. Marie-Amélie Le Fur, an athlete who won three medals in Rio, had this to say to young people with disabilities who dream of competing in the Games: “Believe in your dreams, go for it and give it your all to succeed. And don’t forget the importance of sharing and people.”
The Safety and Mobility for All educational program mainly targets children and teenagers. Launched by the Group in 2000, it has already served to inform several million young people around the world through the dissemination of over one million educational resources. Currently implemented in ten countries, it ranks among the most ambitious road safety awareness campaigns ever to be led by an automotive manufacturer. “Kids on the Road”, for primary school children, has been adopted and implemented in Poland, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Portugal, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia.
Introducing Oliver Faust,
Vice President, CSR, Groupe Renault
Oliver Faust — A company’s primary responsibility is ensuring its profitability and the sustainability of its business activities. We are a carmaker. Cars are a fantastic source of freedom, but they also have negative impacts in terms of road accidents and the environment. And so we are naturally responsible for addressing these two issues. But our responsibility does not end there. We are also part of an ecosystem. Society expects us to share the creation of value, particularly in our employment catchment areas, by fighting against exclusion and poverty. And within our organization, our performance hinges on the well-being and training of our employees and the promotion of diversity among our teams.
— Yes, because it is a way of generating a positive social impact at no additional cost for the company. We already have two major programs under way. To remove one of the primary obstacles to integration, i.e. difficulties accessing mobility, we have nearly 350 Socially Responsible Renault Garages in our network in France. These garages repair the vehicles of people in situations of poverty at cost price and enable them to benefit from lease purchasing deals combined with micro-loans for the acquisition of a new vehicle. Our Mobiliz Invest investment fund has already enabled eight innovative companies to develop a business activity with a positive social impact with the help of Renault mentors. This is a win-win approach, because through these companies we gain access to highly experimental projects in the field of mobility.
— In short, we are going to step up our work on inclusion and responsible mobility. Inclusion is the opposite of exclusion. It is about developing diversity and leaving no one behind, be it one of our own employees or society as a whole. It is also about helping people to integrate, particularly through social entrepreneurship and education (in addition to the current programs of the Renault Foundation). Committing to responsible mobility means building cars and raising the road-safety awareness of users (our program already covers 14 countries and we are commencing roll-out in China). It also involves producing vehicles in respect of the environment throughout their entire life cycle. Together, these initiatives add up to quite a program !
The “Safety and Mobility for All”
program has been
implemented since 2000 in
Studentssupported every year
by the Renault Foundation
hold shares in the Renault Mobiliz
socially responsible company investment fund
of international profiles
holding key positions in 2016