This 1st of October, the Grand Prix du Rayonnement Français 2019 were awarded at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, in Paris. The prize of the humanitarian affairs category was awarded to Michel Lescanne, President and founder of Nutriset. This award recognizes the impact and global success of the Normandy-based enterprise specialized in the design and production of nutritional solutions for vulnerable populations in the South.
In her award speech, Marie-France Marchand-Baylet, Vice-President of Groupe Dépêche and a member of the jury, recalled the exceptional career of the company, founded in 1986 on an extremely innovative concept at the time: to "Feed the children" who are malnourished. She highlighted how, in more than thirty years, Nutriset had been able to profoundly change the mode of operations of humanitarian actors (UN, NGO, Southern governments) by proposing products directly usable by the populations affected by malnutrition, especially children, and by creating a network of local producers in Africa and Asia.
In his speech of thanks, Michel Lescanne emphasized, on behalf of all the collaborators of the company, how the attribution of this prize of the Grand Prix du Rayonnement Français 2019 goes to the company’s staff and encourages all of them to pursue their efforts.
"More than 10 million children in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, are supported each year with Nutriset products," said the President-founder. Our action has enabled the development of the concept of "nutritional autonomy", which consists in giving the means to countries hit by malnutrition to provide a local response and create socio-economic value. Thus, we have initiated a network of local producers who manufacture, competitive products identical in quality to those of Nutriset. As an example of success, I am pleased to mention our partner in Niger that now provides 100% of the products used by the country's nutrition programs, using locally available raw materials."
Nutriset goes further by questioning the way we look at the social responsibility of private enterprises.
"We had the chance to explore this theme starting in 2012, with the scientific management center of the School of Mines (Ecole des Mines), and the team of teachers Hatchuel and Segrestin, said Michel Lescanne. They were the first to combine the reflections of innovation, governance and responsibility. With their support, we were the first company, in France, to transform our company charters in 2015 to introduce a defined extended social purpose- this was recently introduced under the French Pact Act as the raison d'être of a company. In the coming months, our teams and partners in the South will be working on co-designed rules of good governance, inspired by both their practices and ours.
"This is for me, I believe, a prerequisite if we want the private sector to be a contributor to sustainable development in Africa, Asia and elsewhere."
"At the same time, governments and governments will have to make the effort to create healthy and supportive environments for these human-sized businesses."
"I believe that, if found in other legal systems, a variation of the extended social purpose and its implementation mechanisms, could be the spearhead of a governance autonomy in the service of nutritional autonomy, one of and the other dear to Nutriset, and in the service of the influence of France."