Social networks have led to a revolution both in people's habits and lives and in the professional world. Companies have the opportunity to enhance their relationship with sustainable development.

Today, social networks are a tool to promote sustainable development in companies. Women & Sustainable Development Network is an association that organizes meetings, debates and conferences in order to value both women's entrepreneurship and sustainable development. During the last meeting in 2012 different points of sustainable development were discussed.

Social networks and sustainable development

The definition of the social network is quite vague but the main idea is to share and strengthen social ties.

Today, a new style emerged: ethical and solidarity social networks. Their philosophy is “everybody can become a sustainable development actor”. Social networking websites are now adapted to integrate the values of sustainable development. And some social networks have a policy to become sustainable development actors.

Ethical and solidarity social networks:

Today, only a few ethical and solidarity social networks exist, and are rather dedicated for the average person. Causes and Jumo, American websites, both designed by the co-founder of Facebook, stand out with the new French platform reWorld.

Specialized social networks:

Many other ethical social networking initiatives have emerged, but they are dedicated to specific areas of sustainable development or smaller target audiences.

  • Tinkuy

  • Les Végétaliseurs, « pour voir la vie en vert »

  • EnviMotion

Social networks, sustainable development and companies

Studies tend to show that many business professionals, including senior managers, have difficulties to integrate the issues, principles and objectives of sustainable development. But some of them begin to understand the issue. The companies’ social networks host communities of interest. They are initiated by employees or by the company itself, when collaborating with its teams, on topics such as sustainable development or the integration of disabled employees.

Examples:

  1. Danone’s "Dawn to Earth" aims to share the company's vision and innovative experiences in the fields of sustainable development and social responsibility. This helps manage the company's reputation.
  2. WiserEarth network brings together NGOs and facilitates meetings and partnerships. This is a vertical network serving the collective intelligence.
  3. The Crédit Agricole’s social network "l’hanvie de faire la différence" aims to find ways of working with people with disabilities and learn to work together. It is a way to know the Crédit Agricole and attract people with disabilities.

Conclusion

For companies, social networks allow to develop their notoriety, to manage after-sales services, to federate employees and to assist in recruiting. Being on a social network means to stay tuned and to be humble and responsive. Sustainable development through company social networks allows them to show more interest and respect to their employees, customers and partners’ quality of life. And this is good for their reputation and business.

Sources :

Les Echos.fr, 2012, Les réseaux sociaux accélérateurs de développement durable et RSE.

http://lecercle.lesechos.fr/economie-societe/energies-environnement/developpement-durable/221156770/reseaux-sociaux-accelerateur

Developpement durable.com, 2011, La nouvelle vague des réseaux sociaux éthiques et solidaires.

http://www.developpementdurable.com/economie/2011/04/A5920/la-nouvelle-vague-des-reseaux-sociaux-ethiques-et-solidaires.html

Expertise en référencement.com, 2011, Les réseaux sociaux et le développement durable : une aubaine pour les pros !

http://www.expertise-en-referencement.com/referencement-reseaux-sociaux.html

Les réseaux sociaux au service du développement durable et leurs usages par les professionnels, Mars 2012.