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    Schneider Electric in Isère: reconciling growth and responsibility


    Eybens, October 22, 2007 - Schneider Electric has renewed its commitment to Sustainable Development in the Isère region by organising a debate on the theme of “Economy, environment and the social field: how can we reconcile growth and responsibility?”

    The debate will be held at Electropole, Schneider Electric’s new R&D site. Michel Destot, Mayor of Grenoble, will be present alongside Schneider Electric represented by Claude Graff, Executive VP Renewable Energy Activities, Eric Pilaud, Executive VP Strategy, Customers and Technology, Eric Rondolat, Executive VP Power Distribution BU, and Gilles Vermot Desroches, Senior VP Sustainable Development. The International Polar Foundation, represented by its Executive Director Thierry Touchais will present its actions towards a better understanding climate change.

    Consuming less, producing better, improving energy efficiency, protecting the environment, contributing to the development of renewable energy and making a commitment to the education and training of young people: these major vectors of sustainable development are so many opportunities for growth for Schneider Electric, which help its customers to reach their objectives in this field and encourage continuous improvement throughout the company.

    For a long time, growth and responsibility have been considered paradoxical. Today, it is possible to meet our responsibilities – whether these are social, environmental or economic – and create growth. It is important to remind ourselves of our commitment and our action plans”, explains Eric Pilaud, Executive VP Strategy, Customers and Technology.

    The Grenoble basin is one of the historic birthplaces of Schneider Electric. Today, we account for 6,300 jobs in the region and we have accompanied 106 enterprise-creating employees over the past four years. In the field, we participate in many training and insertion systems. Working in the direction of our responsibilities is capital”, adds Gilles Vermot Desroches, Senior VP Sustainable Development.

    1. Schneider Electric in Isère: when responsibility and growth go together 
    - Strengthening the local economic fabric by supporting enterprise creation
    : Since 1994, SIE (Schneider Electric Initiatives for Employment) has been supplying its know-how to employees creating or taking over businesses. The employees benefit from accompaniment that includes help in constructing the project (at the legal, financial, commercial and technical levels), financial grants, and project follow-up over three years. In Isère, 106 employees have benefited from SIE, with a success rate of 80% over three years.
    Schneider Electric also belongs to the “Isère Entreprendre” network of companies, which aims to develop local economic dynamism by accompanying people creating or taking over promising small businesses with job creation potential.

    - Working for the professional insertion of youngsters and people with disabilities
    In Isère, Schneider Electric – via its Paul-Louis Merlin technical school – offers under-achieving school students accelerated training to prepare them for national diplomas. This concerns training for the BEP in electro-technical professions (1 year) and the BAC STI in electro-technical engineering. The results obtained in 2006 were eloquent - 100% success in the BEP and the BAC.

    Schneider Electric also deploys other means, such as:
    - the sandwich course system; at the end of 2006, the group welcomed 818 sandwich course interns, including 284 in Isère,
    - CARED (return to durable employment contract), which enables young people with difficulties to have access to jobs leading to durable professional insertion; 10 contracts were signed in 2006 in Isère,
    - CIPI, the temporary professional insertion contract, which brings together theoretical training and temporary work for three months. The first 2 CIPIs resulted in 50% durable professional insertion,
    - Operation “100 chances – 100 jobs, which aims to facilitate access to durable employment for 100 young adults from the Villeneuve quarter, Grenoble’s Olympic Village. The operation pilot phase, launched in 2006, is shaping up satisfactorily with an expected result of 60% positive graduates in 3 years (a Fixed-term contract of over 6 months, an open-ended contract and a qualifying training course).
    - In addition, Schneider Electric is committed to an active policy to encourage the employment of people with disabilities.
    In 2006, the group had 475 employees with disabilities in France, including 222 in Isère. €10 million is sub-contracted to the protected sector in France, including €2.5 million in Isère.

    - Durable commitment to associations in the Isère region
    Since 1998, Schneider Electric has supported concrete and durable projects by encouraging education, training and accompaniment and by giving employees incentives to participate via partnerships with associations:
    - Sport in the city: this involves offering children with social difficulty a real chance of insertion through sport,
    - Unis-Cité: this association aims to develop the voluntary commitment of young people to the city by proposing missions of public utility, while providing material support in drawing up their project for the future. Schneider Electric spots the youngsters suitable for sandwich training courses,
    - the Telemaque Foundation: this awards grants –from junior high to Baccalaureate – to talented, motivated students from underprivileged backgrounds, while accompanying them through a tutor in each partner company, including Schneider Electric,
    - the Pin de Vie association: this welcomes people with great difficulties on natural space management projects.

    2. Investment in R&D for innovative solutions in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy
    The need for effective, economical and reliable energy has made energy efficiency a pillar of the group’s strategy and one of its levers of growth.
    This performance calls for constantly renewed and ever more innovative solutions, and therefore calls for consequent investment in Research and Development (5% of Schneider Electric’s turnover),
    - Schneider Electric devotes 5% of its turnover to R&D, employs 6,500 researchers and has close to 50 offer creation centres in 25 countries,
    - In Isère, the group has 2 research centres – Technopole and Electropole – and presides over 2 competitiveness clusters in the region: Minalogic, presided by Eric Pilaud, and Tenerrdis with Claude Graff,
    - The Electropole R&D centre displays a global offer in building technical management, such as solar thermal collectors on the roof or photovoltaic cells producing electricity.  Already, in Electropole, the restaurant’s hot water, for example, is supplied by solar energy

    - The HOMES programme, including the team based in Electropole, which aims to reach 20% energy savings in buildings has received the go-ahead from the European Commission. Schneider Electric will create 40 jobs to complete the team.
    - Schneider Electric has also become involved in the field of “clean” energy by creating a new business unit dedicated to renewable energy in general and solar energy in particular. Its objective is to propose the widest reaching solutions and services for the tertiary and domestic markets, as well as for solar farms.

    3. The Planet and Society Barometer: measuring performance in terms of responsibilities 
    This is an educational tool, which aims to measure the group’s performance in terms of responsibilities regarding:
    - its employees, by reducing the number of days lost through work accidents by 20%. In Isère, this figure was reduced by 27% between 2005 and 2006.
    - the environment, by making certification of its industrial sites a priority. All Schneider Electric sites are ISO 14001 certified, including 6 in Isère
    - society: in Isère, 70% of the sites are involved with 14 associations.

    About Schneider Electric
    The world leader in electrical distribution and automation & control, Schneider Electric develops a global offer of products and services for the residential, buildings, industry, energy and infrastructures markets. In 2006, the 112,000 employees of Schneider Electric generated sales of €13.7 billion through 15,000 sales outlets in 190 countries.
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