In keeping with this approach, we are now placing equal opportunities at the heart of our Durable Elegance model. Although anyone can work towards achieving their goals, the most vulnerable often may need support to overcome the barriers, restrictions and even discrimination arising from their circumstances. For Lacoste, equal opportunities must enable everyone to develop their talents in order to reveal their full potential.

This is why we are now committed to helping young people who lack confidence, socially disfavored people or suffer from handicap, in order to promote their social development and integration into professional life.

Trough The Lacoste Elevating Journey, we encourage our employees to go out and meet these vulnerable people, to offer them personalised support according to their age and needs. These different programmes aim to pass on our knowledge and expertise to those who need it most.

Our priority

 elevate vulnerable people (socially disadvantaged or disabled people) toward their full potential 

Our method

passing on Lacoste's values, expertise and know-how 

Our ambition

to make equal opportunities a reality in the fashion industry. 

Summary

Part 1

A CENTURY OF COMMITMENT TO THE MOST VULNERABLE

  • RENÉ LACOSTE AND ANDRÉ GILLIER - THE ORIGINATORS
  • A COMPANY MAINTAINING THE SPIRIT OF ITS FOUNDERS
  • OUR TEAMS, THE PRIORITY

Part 2

MAKING EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES A REALITY

  • OUR ROADMAP FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES
  • OUR COMMITMENT TO PEOPLE FOR 2025

Part 1

A CENTURY OF COMMITMENT TO THE MOST VULNERABLE

A CENTURY OF COMMITMENT TO THE MOST VULNERABLE
Aware of a reality that leaves some people by the wayside, René Lacoste has been fighting against inequalities from the beginning. Since then, the company has continued to deepen and broaden its support for socially disfavored or disabled people.

René Lacoste and André Gillier - The Originators

The creator of the crocodile brand believed in the values of sport and mutual assistance as tools for empowerment. He believed that by supporting vulnerable people, it is possible to help them overcome the barriers and constraints linked to their social conditions, in order to give them the ability to act and achieve their goals.

René Lacoste demonstrated this when he gave young people from some of the poorest backgrounds the opportunity to play golf, thus helping to create an entire generation of champions. When, during the Second World War, he entrusted young workers with the planting of 40,000 trees for the family golf course at Chantaco, he combined environmental and social action by preventing these men from being sent to Germany for forced labour as part of Compulsory Work Service (STO). Throughout his life he helped many young people reach their potential, by cultivating team spirit, motivation and self-improvement.

“Confidence, tenacity, perseverance, rigor:
with weapons like these, everyone can build a life.”

René Lacoste

His partner and friend André Gillier, who was entrusted with the production of his polo shirts, shared the same values and desire for greater social justice. André was a leading figure in the French hosiery industry and his avant-garde social policy earned him the nickname “Industrial philanthropist”.

A COMPANY MAINTAINING THE SPIRIT OF ITS FOUNDERS

The Lacoste company - and subsequently its foundation - have always cultivated this spirit of solidarity inspired by René Lacoste.

Covid : the Group has responded

In 2020, more than 200,000 anti-Covid protective masks were produced by its historic factory in Troyes and offered to the inhabitants of the Metropolis.

In the same year, Lacoste also launched an exclusive polo shirt to thanks all the volunteers who work for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The entire turnover of the Merci Polo was donated to the IFRC in support of the volunteers who make its heart beat faster.

Illness weakens, Lacoste helped to fight it

Lacoste financed medical research, which included, on his 60th birthday, launching a worldwide campaign to support the fight against multiple sclerosis. Similarly, for many years, proceeds from his Pink Croc Collection have been donated to breast cancer research in the United States.

Tsunami : implementation of disaster aid

Following the 2011 tsunami in Japan, Lacoste donations enabled a charity to help 142 orphaned children, offering various means of support from counselling to education loans. The company provided 10,000 items of warm clothing in the most affected areas and participated in a sale to raise funds for the Red Cross.

Lacoste supports people with disabilities who want to demonstrate their talents

Since 2013, Lacoste has been clothing the French Olympic and Paralympic teams. In order for both teams to represent French elegance and benefit from the same comfort, tailor-made clothing is essential to accommodate the morphology of each person, whether they have a disability or not. In the workshops, the outfits of the 250 Paralympic athletes are being redesigned.

The Lacoste Foundation 

Established in 2006 under the aegis of the Fondation de France, its objective is to restore the confidence of socially disadvantaged young people by instilling into them the values of sport. Drawing on a network of partner associations active in 8 countries, the Lacoste Foundation has helped 70,000 underprivileged young people between the ages of 6 and 21 to flourish, gain self-confidence, follow their own path to achieve their goals and build their lives.

Our teams, the priority 

As the architects of its past and future success, Lacoste’s employees occupy a special place at the heart of the sustainable development initiative. The integration of diverse backgrounds, gender equality, safety, development of skills and employability, detection of potential and career management of talent within the Group, are all prerequisites for the deployment of initiatives with external stakeholders.
For our employees to become ambassadors of the company’s values and to ensure its development in harmony with its commitments, their professional fulfilment is a priority, reflected in the human resource policy.

For more information

Part 2

MAKING EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES A REALITY

MAKING EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES A REALITY
Now more than ever the major societal challenges of our time are to give everyone the same opportunities to succeed and integrate, and to respect differences

 

At Lacoste, we believe that the contribution of each stakeholder is essential to fight against the growing inequalities that fracture our communities. In addition to our responsibility as an employer, we are aware of the societal role that companies like ours can play alongside public authorities and the many key players in the educational and community sectors in promoting the inclusion of the most vulnerable.

Aware of this responsibility and strengthened by its social heritage, Lacoste has placed equal opportunities at the heart of its Durable Elegance approach, developed a roadmap, and quantified its commitments for 2025.

Our roadmap for equal oppotunities

In 2020, the crocodile brand is launching its Elevating Journey roadmap to promote equal opportunities. Designed to promote the social and professional integration of people who are socially disfavored or suffering from handicap, this plan is based on three specific areas, depending on the age and needs of the beneficiaries:

  1. Self confidence: Work with vulnerable young people to boost self-confidence, restore self-esteem, develop life paths with them and help them to build their career vision with enthusiasm.
  2. Qualifications: Share our expertise and know-how with disfavored or young people suffering from handicap who have a passion for fashion, enabling them to acquire skills and professional experience, enhancing their employability in the industry.
  3. Starting-up: Support socially disfavored people or people suffering from handicap to make their entrepreneurial dream in the fashion industry a reality by providing them with our expertise and resources.

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 Self confidence

Restore confidence in their own abilities to vulnerable young people is an essential step to enable them to project themselves into the future and develop a life path.

This fundamental work is more than ever at the heart of the Lacoste Foundation’s mission, whose resources have been boosted in recent months to extend the network of partner associations and its geographical coverage.

As an extension of the grassroots work carried out by the organisations supported by the Lacoste Foundation, we want to extend child or adolescent sponsorship on a large scale. Based on the feedback from pioneering experiments initiated by our employees in recent years, we believe this type of long-term individual support is one of the most effective ways of enabling young people in vulnerable situations to look to their future with the confidence they need.

In addition to these plans, Lacoste also wants to help young people have a better understanding of the business world and fashion industry.

The Lacoste foundation

Established in 2006 under the aegis of the Fondation de France, the Lacoste Foundation has developed a network of partner associations, allowing us to work together to promote the social and professional integration of disadvantaged young people.

In 2020, the Lacoste Foundation worked with 11 partner associations around the world, providing them with financial support and equipment to launch their sport and education programmes : Sport in the City, Crocogolf, Handisport Federation, Comité départemental de Golf du Nord in France; Gol de Letra in Brazil ; CityParks in the United States, Israel Tennis & Education Centre, Jogo Aberto in Caju-Rio de Janiero, Birdies de Mogador in Morocco, Association sportive de Golf de Djerba in Tunisia and Academia dos Champs in Portugal, (see box).
This winning alliance with our historical partners has already enabled us to help more than 70,000 young people around the world.

By repositioning the Foundation at the heart of our commitment to equal opportunities, Lacoste wishes to give its Foundation a fresh boost and to spearhead its campaign to help young people in vulnerable situations to gain confidence in themselves and find their place in society.

In 2020, the Lacoste Foundation’s activities have been extended and its resources consolidated, enabling it, over the next few years, to extend its network of associations to new partners who share our values and our ambition in promoting equal opportunities.

To achieve this, the Lacoste Foundation is working alongside its historical partners to further strengthen the impact of their joint programmes. Additionally, it is already setting up new programmes with associations such as Comme les Autres and Eloquentia in France, Life Project 4 Youth in the Philippines and Right to Play in Thailand. By opening up to new sporting activities such as dance, and by working with other associations promoting the personal development of young people, the Lacoste Foundation wants to become a launch pad enabling an increasing number of young people in socially vulnerable situations or with a disability to develop their self-esteem and acquire the behavioural skills needed for their personal development and future professional integration.

These new areas open up new possibilities. New projects are already being developed to help more young people around the world overcome the barriers of their differences. To help them turn their differences into strengths for their own development.

THE LACOSTE FOUNDATION IN ACTION

Four iconic examples illustrate the support provided by the Lacoste Foundation to vulnerable young people, through its support to partner associations.


  • Gol de Letra
  • Sport in the City
  • Apprentis d’Auteuil
  • Eloquentia

  • Gol de Letra

    As part of the activities of this Foundation, which helps children from Brazilian favelas to flourish through global educational assistance, Lacoste has been supporting the “Open Game” programme for 12 years. Mixing sport and culture, it is dedicated to young people aged 8 to 18 living in the Caju favela of Rio de Janeiro. These children are given the opportunity to learn and practice five different sports: tennis, judo, table tennis, gymnastics, and Futsal, during their free half-day before or after school. They also participate in tournaments. Each class begins with a 15-minute discussion on values.

    In addition to these weekly classes, the programme provides cultural outings and trips to the United States as well as events where families and community members are invited.

    334 

    children have benefited from this programme since the project was launched in 2006.

  • Sport in the City

    Lacoste has been supporting this association since 2010, which focuses on the development and professional integration of young people in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Most notably, the Foundation funds its “Match Ball” programme, exclusively dedicated to young girls. It aims to prevent inhibition in adolescence, through sport and education. Today, this project involves 250 teenage girls, living in 17 neighbourhoods in Ile-de-France and Auvergne-Rhône Alpes. The programme includes weekly tennis lessons, tournaments and invitations to inspirational events such as the US open and Roland Garros.

    Combining sport and education, “Match Ball” also involves inviting these young girls to cultural outings and company visits throughout the year, internships during the school holidays and holiday camps, both in France and overseas, organised by other Lacoste Foundation partners such as US City Park in the United States and Gol de Letra in Brazil.

    250

    teenage girls aged 8 to 14 were accompanied

  • Apprentis d’Auteuil

    Every year since 2010, Lacoste has supported the “Tennis School” project, implemented by the Auteuil apprentices who welcome children and teenagers at risk. Deployed in 21 facilities (10 social Children House, 8 boarding schools, 2 high schools and 2 primary schools), it caters for young people aged 6 to 20. As part of the association’s programme of education, training and integration, it offers them effective tennis lessons, organises a major annual tournament, and offers them a one-week training course to improve their skills.

    Lacoste’s employees are also voluntarily involved in the school.

    For example, Ophélie and Bich-Hanh gave a presentation on the visual merchandising and development profession. In conjunction with Lacoste’s Human Resource department, other employees volunteered to offer internships or to present their profession in order to encourage young apprentices from the association.

    592 young people from 6 to 12 were involved in this project in 2019.

  • Eloquentia

    Eloquentia is one of the new associations supported by the Lacoste Foundation. Through its workshops on rhetoric, stage expression and vocal coaching, this association helps everyone “find their voice”, by encouraging dialogue and building confidence. Their work with young people, featured in the acclaimed film “Speak Up!” (“À voix haute – La force de la parole” in French), in perfect harmony with Lacoste’s commitment and activities, prompted the company to become involved with the project, in line with its long-standing support for Apprentis d’Auteuil.

    As a result, since 2020, Lacoste has been offering young apprentices training sessions for a cumulative duration of between 14 and 28 hours.

Mentoring of young people

For several years, Lacoste employees have been supporting young people in difficulty through the Lacoste Foundation’s partner associations in an even more comprehensive way. By mentoring a young person, the employee commits to develop an individual and ongoing relationship with the mentee. Being a Lacoste “mentor” is a long-term investment: a minimum of one year, often extended to several years.

The feedback received from these pilot initiatives has demonstrated the numerous benefits of mentoring. In terms of personal development, for example, it has proven to be mutually beneficial both for the mentee and the mentor themselves. The testimonies below perfectly illustrate this.

For example, Léandre, Marc’s godchild, did a one-month internship in the Visual Merchandising department. This enabled him to participate in the organisation of an internal strategic conference at the FW21 showroom. Jimmy, him, sponsored by Clément, discovered the finance department.

“I have been mentoring Léandre for almost two years now and this interaction is a real advantage for me and also for him I think : indeed, it allows me to give much more meaning to my actions and my work, but also to my personal life since accompanying a young person goes beyond the professional field. It is a commitment and a natural “moral” contract.

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We have built up a relationship with Léandre based on interaction and mutual discussion, which is very simple. We meet regularly to discuss his studies, my work, but also his projects, his passions, what drives him. We enrich each other.

 Léandre is also very pleasant, proactive and friendly. 

I introduced Léandre to the Lacoste world and today he is practically part of the team. Everyone appreciates him and he also came to do an internship with the global Visuel Merchandising and this enabled him to find his path in life in the world of communication. His career choice could be made in a professional and caring environment thanks to the many people who took him under their wing

These wonderful stories have prompted Lacoste to extend the mentoring scheme by opening it up to a growing number of employees and beneficiaries. In order to do so, Lacoste’s Human Resources department is in the process of developing and deploying this system. Becoming a mentor involves taking responsibility for the personal development of a mentee in difficulty. A task like this cannot be taken lightly. First of all, it requires the volunteer employees to receive dedicated training on the role, responsibilities, duties, and expectations of a mentor.

Starting in 2021, the mentoring scheme will be relaunched in France and deployed in Brazil in conjunction with Gol de Lettra. In the following years, the mentoring scheme will be extended to all Lacoste geographic locations.

 By 2025, we hope to build a hundred or so ” mentor-mentee” teams, and to create mutually rewarding experiences, as well as stories of mentees gaining confidence in their talents and identifying their personal and career aspirations.

Discovering the business world and the Lacoste company

Lacoste is also committed to welcoming an increasing number of young people to discover the business world, which can sometimes seem out of reach. By making it real, tangible and human, Lacoste employees contribute to opening up the business world in order to show that it is not as inaccessible as they think.

Introductory courses, open days and job fairs can motivate young people. Therefore, Lacoste wishes to increase the number of these schemes for vulnerable young people, in conjunction with associations and institutional partners.

Anne-Lise and Camille participated in a one-day training on Microsoft Office. One of them explains:

“We had a great day. It was good, even though it was demanding because it required a lot of preparation ….

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beforehand and then constant attention and concentration”. For the Lacoste trainer, this day was also very rewarding: “What is great about this method of introducing the working world to young people in difficulty (school dropouts or worse) is that at the end of the experience

we have the feeling of having pushed the limits. In any case, after speaking with them at the end of the course, some of them expressed the wish to go deeper into the subjects covered, or even to go further by discovering other software. Our hope is that some of the children have found their career path today”.

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Professional qualifications

At Lacoste, sharing our expertise is at the heart of our approach to equal opportunities. As a company committed to excellence, we know that a lack of qualifications or professional experience can be a discriminating factor when applying for a job.

At Lacoste, we cannot simply accept this fact. We believe that anyone who is genuinely interested in working in the fashion industry should have the chance to showcase their talent and potential. This is why Lacoste is committed to helping people who lack training and are interested in pursuing a career in the fashion industry.

First of all, Lacoste wishes to increase access to internships for people who are socially disfavored people or suffering from handicap. .

By 2025, the company plans to reserve up to 10% of the existing global internship offerings in the entire Lacoste ecosystem for these candidates.

Internal awareness-raising work is currently being conducted with potential internship supervisors. In order to welcome these people in the best possible conditions, we offer each training supervisor a training and monitoring framework to ensure the course runs smoothly throughout its duration

In addition to its internship policy, Lacoste wishes to strengthen its role as a trainer by opening its Academies, originally intended for the training of its own employees, to welcome people from outside the company, particularly in our two areas of excellence:

Manufacturing via our Manufacturing Academy

Sales, via our Customer Experience Academy.

The manufacturing academy

In 2017, Lacoste created its school in Troyes, in the historical birthplace of French hosiery. Its objective: to share Lacoste’s textile expertise and to become one of the key places for training in the textile industry in France and throughout the world. Today, recognised by the French State, this Academy employs certified internal trainers, specially selected to share their expertise. Students learn the trades of hosiery, dyeing and dressmaking and receive a qualification certificate.

The Manufacturing Academy is now expanding around the world with centres opening in 2019 in Lacoste factories in Japan and Argentina. The centre in Japan already welcomes employees from the Group’s supplier partners to train them in Lacoste’s technical expertise through theoretical and practical courses. Everyone was awarded a certificate. A similar project is being launched in Argentina.

As part of its equal opportunities roadmap, the Lacoste Manufacturing Academy is now opening up even more to the outside world with the aim of offering people in social difficulties or with disabilities training sessions over several weeks leading to a qualification. Adapting the programmes to these groups of students will first be tested as a pilot scheme in France from 2021, before being rolled out at scale and in other countries in the following years.

The Group has approached Pôle Emploi (Job Centre) and the Ecole de la Seconde Chance (Second-Chance School) to publicise its Lacoste training schemes. Once the future beneficiaries had been selected, the teams set about identifying and recruiting Lacoste trainers.

Although the pilot’s first promotion remains modest, the ambition is to support some 300 people around the world by offering them training courses in the clothing industry.

The customer experience academy

Their objective is to develop the skills needed to succeed in the retail sector and to create passionate brand ambassadors. This includes training tools and initiatives to ensure a high-quality customer experience. Today, its internal training programmes are available in 36 countries and 13 languages.

With the opening of the Customer Experience Academy to the outside world, training courses in technics of sales and customer relations will now be accessible to vulnerable people or people with a disability. The adaptation of the programmes includes a theoretical foundation and practical experience in a boutique in Germany – the pilot country where this is currently being tested.

Between 2022 and 2025, these training modules will gradually become available in other countries, with the aim of training 700 people in the art and techniques of sales.

For these two programmes, Lacoste considers the personalised support of participants the key to success. For this reason, there is a mentor available for each “student” at the Academy, and three Lacoste trainers with extensive technical knowledge and field experience in each training session.

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Business starting-up   

Equality of opportunity must also be extended to equality in undertaking. This is why Lacoste wants to offer tailor-made support to entrepreneurs who intend to work in the fashion industry. For motivated people, social background or disability should not be an obstacle to entrepreneurship. However, it is essential to master each aspect and stage of the process for the project to be viable and its launch to be successful, such as conducting a market study, writing a business plan, defining the business status, financing, manufacturing, developing a commercial action plan, creating a website, and communicating on social media. These are some of the areas where we can help young entrepreneurs with their projects by making our resources available to them.

From 2022, Lacoste will help entrepreneurs create their own business by assisting them throughout the process. Each year we aim to help five entrepreneurs turn their dreams into a reality

During several months and over a period of one year, each of the five programme participants will be supported by a Lacoste mentor who will help them navigate their way around the company and access the necessary resources and meet with the relevant experts for their projects.

In addition, with the help of their mentor, the participants will have the opportunity to talk to any relevant Lacoste experts about finance, law, production, operations, logistics, design, marketing, and research. All of our expertise will be at the disposal of the participants.

During the programme, a seminar which brings together members of Lacoste’s senior management and external experts around the five entrepreneurs, will support them in the finalisation of their project thanks to collective intelligence.

The whole process will help the young entrepreneurs reinforce the viability of their projects. Finally, they will present their project to the Lacoste Executive Committee, which may award them with a grant contributing to the financing of their project.

“Whatever the activity, the desire to improve is the purest path to satisfaction.”


René Lacoste