For this episode of the Urban ChroniclesTM, we spoke with Eric Bousrez, Real Estate Director of Société Générale Group. He explains the group’s actions and ambitions as part of its real estate CSR approach. It also discusses the implementation of the Flex Office in terms of real estate but also managerial transition.
Green Soluce: Can you describe your function and role within the Société Générale Group?
Eric Bousrez: The mission of the Real Estate Department is to ensure the management of the Group’s real estate performance in the field of operating real estate. In other words, it refers to all the buildings in which the Group’s employees operate, with the exception of retail networks in France. This is the Group’s third largest expense item.
The Group’s real estate portfolio covers more than 4 million m². We directly operate more than 630,000 m² in France. We assist the Group’s subsidiaries around the world, whether in the development of their real estate strategy (leasing, sale & acquisition,) or the completion of their major real estate projects.
Green Soluce: Société Générale is one of France’s leading banks. What is the place and role of the Real Estate Department?
Eric Bousrez: Real estate is an essential lever of the companies’ strategy: we actively participate in the Group’s transformation: reducing expenses by rationalising and optimising the fleet, responding to the challenges of the business lines: transforming working methods (flex-office), attracting talent, strengthening the brand, innovation, risk management and contributing to the Group’s CSR policy.
“Our ambition is to create value and support the transformation of the bank’s businesses, while contributing to the “Transform to grow” strategic plan by optimizing our real estate footprint in France and abroad”.
Green Soluce: How is the Group’s CSR (environmental and social) vision applied to the real estate function?
Eric Bousrez: Social and environmental responsibility is a subject at the heart of the group’s policy. Beyond the elements of communication, Société Générale is a major player, recognised on these issues thanks to its commitments and concrete achievements. We are focusing our efforts on three main topics.
First of all, an energy component.
We have set ourselves several objectives in this area, which we are on the way to achieving. The first corresponds to a 25% reduction in carbon emissions per occupant between 2014 and 2022. The second concerns energy efficiency, and therefore aims to reduce the group’s total consumption by 20% between 2014 and 2020.
One of the group’s ambitions is also to strengthen its commitments in terms of “green” energy supplies. Today all the energy purchased in France is of hydraulic origin. We also support the group’s subsidiaries, particularly in African countries, in autonomous electricity production projects, such as the creation of photovoltaic plants for example.
We have also carried out several projects that are real references in terms of sustainable real estate. The most notable are Les Dunes and the Granite Tower, the latter being the first IGH (High Height Building) certified HQE (High Environmental Quality). It is a true energy efficiency approach, which we strive to replicate in each construction project. In addition, we have a multi-year plan for the work and maintenance of the group’s assets. It aims to improve energy performance, while increasing employee comfort.
Responsible waste management is the second part of our CSR vision. The occupants of our buildings and our employees are at the centre of initiatives to raise awareness of waste sorting, so that its recycling is an integral part of working life.
Third key element of our policy: with the Purchasing Department, we award subcontracting contracts to companies in the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE), for a total of approximately one million euros. This allows us to make a significant contribution to the group’s social impact objectives.
Green Soluce: In concrete terms, to what extent is real estate a lever to accelerate the Group’s managerial and digital transitions?
Eric Bousrez: To answer this question, I will take a concrete example, significant by the scale of the deployment we are setting up: the Flex Office. More than a real estate subject, it is above all a managerial subject. This promotes agile and collaborative working methods, while significantly contributing to ease of use.
As an indication, if we take the Dunes real estate project launched at the end of 2016, we had set up 5400 Flex workstations. The deployment plan foresees 18,000 positions by the end of 2019. And we are targeting 87% of jobs by 2022 in the Ile-de-France region.
Green Soluce: What are the priorities of Société Générale’s Real Estate Department for the coming year?
Eric Bousrez: The Group’s Real Estate Department is strongly involved in the “Transform to Grow” strategic transformation plan via two main areas.
The first concerns the optimization of space management. This corresponds to the core business of operating real estate, in order to rationalize our locations within the scope of buildings operated in France. In the long term, this will allow us to make significant savings.
The layout of the spaces is the second axis. It is a key issue for Société Générale. We see this as an opportunity to upgrade our premises. We propose arrangements in line with the evolution of working methods, comfort standards and quality of life at work.
Interview by Camille Raynaud for Urban Chronicles™.
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