Ecofi launches a new SfC engagement with Orange
A new engagement process with Orange has been launched by SfC’s founding member Ecofi Investissements in October.
Alleged anti-competitive practices, alleged controversies in the relation with customers in Africa and Poland as well as the restructuring process, back in 2008, accompanied by an anomalous number of suicides among the company’s employees, that has recently been sanctioned by Paris public prosecutors. These are the main issues on which the French asset management company Ecofi Investissements, one of the founding members of SfC – Shareholders for Change, has launched a new engagement process with the French telecommunication giant Orange in October. The Italian Etica Sgr and the Swiss ABS, both members of SfC, will join Ecofi’s efforts.
«Orange is regularly accused of using its dominant position to put pressure on competitors», says Cesare Vitali, head of ESG research and SRI development at Ecofi Investissements. «We will ask the company to explain us its official position on five alleged anti-competitive practices that occurred between 2018 and 2019. In view of the various litigations, we will also ask if the provision of €572m is considered as sufficient to cover all possible charges».
The 2008 restructuring process has made it to headlines again on 11 July 2019, when Orange (formerly France Télécom) has been accused of “moral harassment” leading to a wave of suicides in the 2000s by Paris prosecutors. After a long, landmark trial of corporate responsibility, the prosecution has asked for the maximum sentences: a fine of €75,000 for France Télécom and a year’s imprisonment for three top former executives. The final verdict is expected on 20 December.
Meanwhile, Orange is being engaged by Meeschaert Asset Management on its tax practices, based on SfC’s own research “Bad Connection“, published in December 2018.
«We are asking for more information on Orange’s subsidiaries in Luxembourg, Netherlands, Ireland, Singapore, Panama and UK. We are pressing the company to publish country by country reporting data in its financial statements», says Aurélie Baudhuin, deputy managing director of Meeschaert AM and president of SfC. «For the moment the company hasn’t answered to any of our requests».