Ubiquitous because "season", new year of Unicef cards are the tree hiding the forest of the activities of an association that, after forty years of existence, looks like small business and closer to the private sector. A symbolic event: at the beginning of December, the French Committee for Unicef has created its first "business club", for a bridge with a world that might a priori him seem foreign. Because the French Committee has a problem: "the gift market is today virtually saturated." Go for a new donor costs than the gift itself. "In this approach, lost money and it is a deadlock, should therefore develop other sources of collection," explains Nicolas Burckel, Director of the development of the Unicef France. On paper, the equation is simple. About EUR 45 million for collection expected this year, 1.2 million only come from business, sponsorship and partnership for sharing products (products with Unicef, the latter logo on part of the sale). That is, it can easily anticipate a margin of development in this direction, or even a real deposit. Already, companies bought 40 of the greeting cards. "It could quickly climb to 4 million euros," said Nicolas Burckel.
"It must work niches," says Gilles Paillard, Director General of the Committee. UNICEF France already has partners or sponsors, sensitive to the strong image of the international organization: Biotherm, the Caisse d'Epargne, Century 21, Clairefontaine, Ikea, La Grande Récré, post... Their presence is also mounted in power for four years. While emerged the concept of sustainable development, Unicef would like to take advantage of this wave and "bring together everything that revolves around the company to its suppliers and its customers," in terms of messages or lyricism and constant inputs for children. "Companies are now seeking a supplement of soul." "In this, they did not escape the pressure of their own personal", said Jacques Hintzy, President of the Unicef France.
There the idea of creating a club of partner companies in France, the model of those already existing in Norway in 2002 and Finland in 2000, which are part of major industrial leaders like patterns of Nokia or the airline Finnair. The goal is a "Scientific Council of the partnership", to share business of formulations, the actions and "watches" in humanitarian matters.
In this context, the Unicef France organized last October a study tour to very concrete in Bangladesh to make discover the Unicef Bangladesh development projects to a few companies (Casino, Clairefontaine, FNAC, Ikea, Tetra Pak - ACN, RATP...). They have on this occasion discovered the reality of the work of Unicef field. A visit very centred on the means to develop, maintain, or bring the children to school, to avoid employment under or paid and often not related to their age or their physical abilities. In the heart of the slums of Dhaka and well away from their usual meeting rooms, visit frames thus actually saw it that the terms "development", "fairness" or "ethical" mean.
MOP frames have also discovered that their companies had shares and shared concerns with Unicef. Thus, Clairefontaine disseminates Unicef branded notebooks and in offer one organization for each sold copy (250,000 euros have thus been returned to Unicef France for this single operation). Casino, on the other hand, is very attentive to the ethical content of the Group import. Through the Alliance cardboard Nature association, Tetra Pak organizes the collection of empty food packaging bricks for years to sell for the benefit of Unicef paper gift under the label "Brikkado" (935.000 euros returned in 2003). And the RATP, which in principle does not external partnerships, however never hesitates to make logistical support (opening of booths in stations "lights") to the French Committee for Unicef.
As soon as the first meeting of the Unicef business club, the synergy envisaged between the companies were soon to emerge: for example, Casino, which was already distributing Brikkado, is now considering also disseminate the Clairefontaine-Unicef notebooks. And if, because of their existing commitments, it does not seem possible companies members or future members of the "club" to unite on a specific project in a given country on the Scandinavian model , the theme of the education of the children fédérera the upcoming actions. The idea has already been launched to work with an agency to create a common communication (label, slogan...).
This field of rapprochement between two worlds the international organization and that of the company , Unicef feels uncomfortable. Type association 1901 clearly claims a "general philosophy of business management", based of course on marketing and management, explains Jacques Hintzy, President of a French Committee including the Director-General has just Unilever: "It not only to be the most efficient possible uptake of the donations, but also the most rigorous in the control of our costs." From this point of view, the management fees are already below 5, and Unicef now concentrates on the decrease in charges related to the collection of donations, an activity in which resides the essence... of his expenses. The only sale of maps, for example, represents a long string of costs: distribution, warehousing, mailing, fulfillment, etc. "each employee research daily the most cost-effective solutions," explains Gilles Paillard. Unicef is thus a permanent battle with its suppliers to obtain the best rates, not hesitating to change providers. Result: this management has identified in 2003 a EUR 2.2 million operating surplus paid to Unicef International, in addition to his "normal" contribution of EUR 27.5 million.