Public authorities and civil society: moving forward together
Like any multinational, Michelin maintains a relationship of dialogue and cooperation with public authorities, NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and, more generally, with representatives of civil society in every country where it operates. This relationship comes under the remit of the Group Public Affairs Department which has the task of keeping the Group informed about political or legislative changes which may affect our operations. The Department also provides Michelin’s expertise to decision-makers whenever pertinent and useful. Éric le Corre, Director of Group Public Affairs, explains how Michelin operates at every level.
Éric le Corre
Director of Group Public Affairs
What are Michelin’s objectives when it contributes to public policies?
We have two objectives. The first is to provide strategic support to the different organisations concerned. Within public policy we want to create and maintain a positive context for our businesses. We carry out a great many actions throughout the world to reduce any obstacles to the design, production, sales and recycling of our products, whether these obstacles implicate technical issues or customs controls.
Our second objective is to contribute to the quality of public debate by providing our expertise. We are a global group with experience in very broad issues: trade, social affairs, employment law, etc. An example: in France we interceded in questions of industrial competitiveness and shared our experiences from the Roanne site and the agreements established there. In addition, tires potentially affect safety and the environment. We can provide our expertise when public policies are being debated. Our objective is to ensure this expertise is factual and uses state-of-the-art technology. On a European level, we have participated in the introduction of an energy label which informs the consumer about the tire’s performance in terms of CO2 emissions, noise and braking on wet roads.
How does this contribution occur?
Michelin is a key player in sustainable mobility which means building trusting relationships with political decision-makers and the entire administrative infrastructure. We are involved on a local level working closely with our industrial sites and also on a broader scale with the European parliament, the Economic Commission of the ASEAN which is an organisation of south-east Asian countries, and the UN too. We are also in discussions with opinion leaders and major NGOs to create and enrich our dialogue with civil society.
We share our expertise and our challenges with all these players through meetings, written exchanges and face-to-face discussions... We try to bring something to the table.
Furthermore, we are heavily involved in non-competitive discussions with our sector’s professional organisations like the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers Association (ETRMA) and the Japan Tyre Manufacturers Association (JATMA). Michelin also works on moving forward standards and regulations for tires. With the Tire Industry Project (TIP), Michelin and the tire industry launched highly advanced scientific research into the environmental impact of tires. Studies have illustrated that particles generated by tire wear are not a public health problem. This kind of approach is a perfect reflection of our purpose: offering everyone a better way forward.
What is Michelin’s standard operating procedure in relations with decision-makers? Is transparency an absolute necessity?
Our aim is to establish trusting relationships with stakeholders. This requires strict observance of current regulations and our code of ethics. This observance is not optional! It’s imperative in every action we undertake. We are on the transparency register* in every country where we have a presence; it’s a key element to responsible lobbying.
We do not finance political parties except in the United States where it is at a local level and completely transparent. In America, this is a standardised and regular practice for all businesses. Generally, we work with “both sides of the street” in politics, in all countries. At the latest French regional elections, we met with all the candidates in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.
*A transparency register informs people about independent organisations and people which may influence decision-making processes. It manages this influence through a code of conduct.