Responsible choices have an impact on a company’s brand. Operating in a socially responsible way is a significant business advantage in the media sector.
Responsible business is often more profitable and sustainable from both the company’s and society’s perspectives. The company’s mission needs to be clear and, in a changing world, even a media company should invest in responsibility. Someone who knows this well is Karine Guldemann, Chief Representative of the Elle Foundation.
The Elle Foundation was established in 2004 by Elle, which is one of the world’s leading women’s magazines, together with the media conglomerate Lagardère Group, which owns the magazine. The foundation’s mission is to support the education of girls and women around the world, and it has already carried out more than 85 projects in 30 countries.
The Elle Foundation’s objective is to support and defend women’s emancipation through education and to spread awareness to help prevent violence against women, among other things.
According to Karine Guldemann, establishing the Elle Foundation has had a tremendous impact on the Elle brand and its parent company.
“Elle’s partners and employees have been very interested in the foundation’s projects, and many of them serve as volunteers in the foundation’s various programmes.”
Backed by the same strong values
Hélène Lazareff created Elle in 1945. She hoped that a new kind of women’s magazine would help women find their place in society. The Elle Foundation’s task has been to turn Lazareff’s words into concrete action.
“Media serves an important purpose by witnessing the changes that take place in society. The synergistic relationship works both ways: the Elle magazine now covers the foundation’s activities within its pages,” Guldemann explains.
Each year, the foundation organises a wide variety of events that both Elle magazine and the partners of its parent company are happy to commit to. The cooperation is made easier by the fact that the foundation and the magazine’s media brand share the same values and mission.
“Among other things, we organise various conferences, discussions and courses in cooperation with non-governmental organisations. These events have a positive impact not only on Elle’s brand and employer image, but also the company as a whole,” Guldemann concludes.
Social responsibility is part of the daily life of many media companies
The Elle Foundation, Schibsted and Alma Media work locally and internationally to make the world a better place.
The Elle Foundation promotes the interests of young women globally
Established in 2004, the Elle Foundation organises the annual Elle Solidarité Mode competition for young women aged 18–23. The aim of the competition is to provide career opportunities for talented young designers from disadvantaged backgrounds. The participants have the opportunity to study in schools that are highly respected in the fashion industry or collaborate with French fashion designers.
The Elle Foundation has also been involved in supporting and developing a magazine aimed at women in Afghanistan, supported the education of vulnerable young women in Cambodia and helped with the rehabilitation of women suffering from war-related post-traumatic stress disorder in Africa, to name but a few examples.
Schibsted aims for equality and openness
Finding inspiration in guidelines such as the ten principles of sustainable development outlined by the UN Global Compact, the Norway-based multinational media group Schibsted has a particular focus on supporting gender equality as well as promoting sustainable consumption and production models. Responsibility and gender equality are especially important within the Schibsted organisation: the company has a zero tolerance policy regarding harassment and discrimination.
Openness is another important value for Schibsted. Starting last year, Schibsted has organised Power of Journalism, an annual event that provides an open arena for the company’s shareholders and partners to discuss the future of media companies in our changing world. The aim of the event is to ensure that the basic mission of the press, which is to support freedom and democracy, is not compromised in spite of the changes in the business environment.
Schibsted also provides a platform for second hand trade which’s users it describes as environmental heroes.
Alma Media accelerates sustainable growth
For its part, Alma Media also wants to accelerate balanced development and sustainable growth at various levels of society.
In line with this objective, Alma Media’s social responsibility has a strong focus on education and training projects aimed at target groups that need support for various reasons. Profesia, a Slovakian recruitment service company that is part of Alma Media, launched a multi-year project this autumn to improve the working conditions and job satisfaction of teachers by helping school principals develop their management skills. The project aims to promote the development of education in Slovakia, a country that is suffering from a shortage of competent teachers.
In Finland, Alma Media started a three-year project this year with a goal of having Alma Media employees make at least 150 media education visits to schools on a volunteer basis. The goal of the visits is to increase schoolchildren’s understanding of fake news, news, responsible advertising and data.
In addition to these projects, Alma Media’s recruitment services in several different countries often provide job searching advice or other services to students and other special target groups free of charge or at very affordable prices. In one such project carried out in 2016, the Czech recruitment company LMC offered unemployed miners the opportunity to learn computer programming.