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Andreea and Théodore: creating synergies among various stakeholders operating in the SSE

Andreea, Head of marketing, communications, PR and Solidarity at Carrefour in Romania believes passionately in investing in aid programmes funded by the Carrefour Foundation. She is just as likely to be found taking effective action in emergency situations as she is working on ongoing projects, such as upcycling unsold stock. The environment – an overarching concern for all of us – is the point at which these two types of initiative converge.

Théodore is passionate about human sciences and wants to reconcile his social and personal aims within the framework of a future career. He talks to us about his path so far, which has partly been inspired by his parents.

 

Andreea, Head of marketing, communications and PR

 

Following a Baccalauréat in Bucharest, Andreea began studying economics in... Bordeaux. She then returned to Romania, did a master’s degree, followed by an MBA. She then spent a number of years working for an import company. In 2000, she applied for a job when Carrefour first started operating in Romania. "I sent in my CV ten minutes before the deadline, and was not particularly hopeful”. She's been doing the job since 2000 and currently has a large number of responsibilities in her capacity as Head of Marketing, Communication, PR and Solidarity, sales dynamics & pricing.

Right from the outset, aid initiatives have been incorporated into the process of rolling Carrefour out in Romania. "The needs were tremendous and Carrefour was a forerunner in securing the commitment of companies." Currently, the group mainly focuses its efforts on three categories of people: children, the homeless and elderly people living alone. One such example is Ovidio Ro – a programme designed to encourage children living in rural areas to go to school: families whose children attend school on a regular basis receive food aid in the form of purchase coupons. Having already helped 1 500 children, this programme – which has received €600,000 from Carrefour and its Foundation – is going to be extended by the Romanian government to include the whole country. This way, vulnerable children are able to go to school and end up on a path that will lead them to success in life, keeping them away from delinquency and giving them an opportunity for a better life!

"We are in contact with the partner associations every week". And although the head office is the driving force behind such operations, the stores themselves also organise aid initiatives. Last May, for example, a "Charity Shopping Race" was held to raise money for United Way Romania. 57 volunteers and employees, split into teams of 4, had to fill their shopping trolleys with basic essentials. The charity race raised €13,000 worth of products at just one hypermarket in the north of Romania.

 

In addition to meetings with partners (the Red Cross for food banks, UNICEF, etc.), supporting and monitoring projects takes up a significant part of the working day. And there is always the unexpected. Indeed, Carrefour Romania's aid initiatives are well-known and "when there is an emergency (floods, etc.), people call upon us to get us to send in basic essentials. We have a hypermarket right next to the airport. Often, press helicopters on the way to affected regions take foodstuffs with them that have been donated by Carrefour. Everything can be ready in just one hour".

This type of event typifies Andreea’s role: "Romania has many links with France: our civil code is based on yours. Carrefour is a leader in its sector and I think it is up to us to lead by example on issues such as aid". The desire to do this can be seen in initiatives right across the company, and even at the checkouts in stores: there has been a programme in place for the past seven years alongside the Red Cross whereby customers can donate non-perishable foodstuffs throughout the year. Carrefour Romania employees also play a part in these initiatives (appeals for toy donations at Christmas for children from disadvantaged families, etc.).

Andreea does not just support these associations and deal with emergency situations: she also tackles problems upstream. "Floods are a recurring problem, mainly due to the rampant deforestation blighting our country. We have therefore joined forces with the WWF and launched a programme to protect 20,000 hectares of virgin forest".

And with the Ateliers Sans Frontières charity (Workshops without Borders), we have implemented an upcycling initiative. The charity recovers and recycles bio-waste as part of its social reintegration project (bags are made from advertising banners, compost is made from unsold fruit and vegetables… and then transformed into fertiliser). These products are then sold in stores and/or for various occasions.

 

TESTIMONY
"I have a strong belief in the power of mobilising people by setting an example, and Carrefour communicates both internally and externally, encouraging people to take action at their level"

People right across the group are therefore involved along the whole length of a fully-fledged social action chain!

"I have a strong belief in the power of mobilising people by setting an example, and Carrefour communicates both internally and externally, encouraging people to take action at their level", emphasises Andreea. Everything we do, we do with passion and conviction. It goes beyond just work". And the company is getting its stores involved via stands designed to raise people's awareness on environmental issues. This will be rolled out this September. "A company can only exist through the people who work for it, and the Carrefour Group wants to serve the communities in the hearts of which it operates. We apply all of these principles here as well, in Romania".

 

Théodore, in his second year of a master's degree in Corporate Social Responsibility at Paris Dauphine University

 

After his baccalaureate, unlike many young people his age, Théodore decided to follow in the footsteps of his parents. “Both of them have jobs in the social and solidarity economy and I was really keen to do something similar, so I could reconcile economic and social concerns". It was with this in mind that Théodore enrolled on the master's degree in Corporate Social Responsibility at Paris Dauphine University, while at the same time studying for a master's degree in political philosophy and ethical theory at the Sorbonne. "I'm extremely interested in human sciences – they demonstrate just how interwoven social and economic concerns have been throughout the history of humanity". His deep-seated interest in studying societies is evidenced in how he sees Andreea. "What impresses me in what she says is the sheer number of stakeholders with which the company has been interacting since it was first set up".


In addition to these societal considerations, Théodore identifies with Andreea's experience from a personal perspective. During his year off in 2017, he joined the team at the Franco-Burmese Chamber of Commerce in Rangoon. "Encouraging economic development – in a responsible way – in a former dictatorship is extremely difficult", he says. "Any attempt to introduce an economy must respect the specific features of the country in question: it has to be a meeting of two systems". Within this framework, the programme that the Carrefour Foundation has launched to educate Romanian children resonates with him in particular. "I'm thrilled with this social action chain that is in the process of taking shape in Romania".

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