Corporate | 26 October 2015

COP21: engaging employees to drive success - 5 questions for Claire Martin

Only a few weeks to go, before kicking off the COP21 conference, taking place from 30 November to 11 December in Paris, the Renault teams are fully mobilized as official partner. 200 employees are currently trained to drive a fleet of 200 all-electric vehicles to shuttle 20,000 delegates. We have met with Claire Martin - Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility – to better understand the importance of involving employees in our partnership.
by Groupe Renault


You decided to ask the employees of the Renault-Nissan Alliance to volunteer to drive COP21 delegates 24/7 to the various conference venues, as a supplementary option to public transport. Where did this idea come from? 

By deciding to be partners of COP21, the Renault-Nissan Alliance wanted to demonstrate the relevance of the electric vehicle solution to climate issues. I was also looking for a way to get employees involved in this international event of prime importance which will be looking at questions that are vital for all of our futures, as citizens, employees or parents. Indeed, I am convinced that a company performs better when its employees believe in the projects that it supports. Much of a company’s reputation is determined by how far its projects match the values that it stands for, the corporate values shared by its employees. It seemed almost self-evident that anyone who wanted to be actively involved in our participation should be given the opportunity to do so. 

Why did you feel that it was important to involve the Alliance’s employees in this partnership?

There is no better ambassador for an innovative product than those who have worked on its design, its manufacturing, its sales or its financing. These are, after all, our own products — which many of our volunteers have worked on directly or indirectly — that need to be driven, presented, showcased. Our drivers were “recruited” by our Human Resources departments, and will be trained from November onwards by the Renault-Nissan Academy, our internal training school.How did the recruitment campaign go? Would you say it was a success?
For symbolic reasons, we launched the campaign on June 5th, World Environment Day. It was hugely successful, with several hundred volunteers applying in just the first few days; in fact, we even had to close applications earlier than planned. But what struck us, apart from the large number of candidates, were their stated reasons for applying, which demonstrated their desire to take an active part, to be involved. The Group’s employees clearly believe that electric vehicles are a workable answer to climate, environment and pollution-related problems.  


How did you select the Ambassador Program who will represent our brands during COP21 and what do you think makes a good Ambassador?

Obviously successful candidates had to have a valid driver’s license. Availability and experience in driving electric vehicles were also taken into account; and for an international event that is set to welcome delegates from 195 countries, in order to guarantee good service we needed people with a certain command of English and other languages. Of course we also took workload distribution into account, consulting with the managers involved to ensure that the company’s operations would not be disrupted.

A good Ambassador is someone who knows the product well and can talk about it accurately, precisely and enthusiastically. As a representative of our company, they wish to demonstrate the sincerity of Renault and Nissan’s commitment to climate issues, and must believe in the relevance of electric vehicles. Finally, the perfect Ambassador should be able to offer a quality experience to all COP21 attendees, be they negotiators, journalists, NGO activists, scientists or diplomats.

What do you want them to remember about this experience?

I want them to remember that they contributed, in a small yet tangible manner, to this momentous event in human history: a moment when we could collectively agree to do what it takes to safeguard our future, at the price of making a few efforts, a few changes in the way we do things... and I hope they will meet some wonderful people, all the while proudly representing our great companies...

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