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AFNOR is a business group that places the talent of our teams and their diverse cross-section of social, cultural and intellectual backgrounds at the heart of development strategy. At AFNOR, our raison d'être is to secure a growth that extends beyond our market mindshare, the unanimously-recognized full processcontrol over the emerging technologies and new business trends, our standards and the benchmark references that they come with.
The pace at which goods and services trade coupled with the spiralling quantities exchanged requires a calm, composed, well-informed analysis. This is the service AFNOR offers.
Every day, in 90 countries across the world, AFNOR teams are working to defend the idea that tomorrow's trade and commerce will work out far better if differences are allowed to dovetail into a better service package that, at the end of the chain, benefits consumers, and ultimately, citizens.
This is a policy founded on respect, and is widely known as good governance. At the AFNOR, this policy is shared with partners and customers, but it is also distilled internally, within the group, right through into our human resources.
The AFNOR Group has always taken the lead on outreach into local social and economic environments. This proactive approach is guided by two core objectives.
The first is to pinpoint the needs and expectations of our audiences - whether or not they are customers. This is why we build and nurture long-term relationships with all people, not just those within the business sphere but also extending out to local assemblies or government-devolved services. Each regional delegation operating under the AFNOR banner empowers a local hub, acting as network leader for the benefit of the whole community.
The second objective epitomises the AFNOR Group's ambitions to be recognized as a socially-responsible partner, empowering progress for a territory: the territory that is home to our headquarters.
Since the AFNOR first settled into the La Plaine Saint-Denis business park in 2002, the group has led and continues to lead a broad panel of initiatives, becoming, in the process, a high-profile and often valuable ally to the local Saint-Denis community.
Our community outreach action includes direct participation in the operations launched by local authorities and professional administrations (Saint-Denis local council, the Departmental (93) Council, the Prefecture (office of local government), chairmanship of the PAE (Plaine Actions Entreprises), Medef 93Ouest (the local branch of the French employers' organization), chairmanship of ANDRH 93 (local branch of the national HRD association…).
The AFNOR's pledge to promote diversity is most clearly visible at grass roots level, in the field of employment.
In 2008, the AFNOR Group hired a total of 273 staff (under permanent contracts, short-term contracts, training schemes…). 56 of these people were recruited under youth (under-26) employment policy, including 12 from the banlieues, the tough local housing estates, a figure four times higher than the target threshold set at year-start.
It is equally visible through the commitment shown by AFNOR employees in introducing a community mentorship scheme designed to facilitate local employment for young Seine Saint-Denis undergraduates. To date, the scheme has seen 50 men and women mentoring over a hundred college-leavers, 35 of whom have already been hired.
In November 2008, the AFNOR Group signed the Plan Espoir Banlieues agreement, underlining our commitment to helping local youth gain access to employment. The AFNOR has also liaised with the “Nos Quartiers ont des Talents” association to launch a sponsorship operation under which the group will help draft a normative document — a good practices standard — to enable the association to extend its outreach beyond the Ile-de-France region. Ever since 2005, when the association was founded, the AFNOR Group has been a key partner to this structure created to help young students from tough local housing estates find a job.
An equally important point to underline is that the AFNOR Group demonstrates commitment to promoting diversity by proposing the 'Diversité' label through its subsidiary, AFNOR Certification. This product was developed and launched in 2008, in response to a request from the French national association of human resources directors (the ‘ANDRH’). This label enables employers to gauge their performance on equal opportunities and anti-discrimination actions.
Looking at the AFNOR Group as a whole, most positions are occupied by women. Focusing on management staff, the trend is heading towards a 50/50 gender balance. There is already parity among the AFNOR Executive Board. It would look like a breach of ethics if the situation was otherwise at a company that produces and markets products whose openly-stated ultimate goal is to promote a fairer, more soundly organized society, underpinned by the core value of mutual respect.
However, equal opportunity employment does not stop at gender parity, but is also expected to take the lead on issues related to disability employment. Here again, the AFNOR steps in, producing and marketing standards designed to enable persons with disability to access the same services and resources as any other citizen.
Looking in, the AFNOR has audited its own group-wide performance on disability issues. First-in results from this initiative shed light on how to better recruit and retain disabled employees.
The AFNOR Group is currently running an affirmative action on disability employment agreement signed in December 2008, and an agreement concerning workforce and competency management planning designed to enable each and every person in the group to find their place, regardless of age or gender.
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