Jean-Paul Agon, François-Henri Pinault, Sophie Boissard and Gérard Mestrallet

ONE IN THREE: Kering’s François-Henri Pinault and L’Oréal’s Jean-Paul Agon were among seven chief executive officers to sign a commitment charter, called One in Three Women, against gender-based violence, in Paris on Friday morning.

The charter’s name refers to the ratio of women who are victims of physical and/or sexual violence during their lifetime. OneInThreeWomen is, as well, the moniker of the network of companies created by the FACE Foundation and Kering Foundation. L’Oréal and Korian are its ambassadors, while other members include Carrefour, Lagardère through the Elle Foundation, BNP Paribas and SCNF.

The network’s aim is to implement measures to fight gender-based violence — especially domestic violence; to support victims with tools such as training, useful numbers and events, and to create a network of diverse stakeholders.

Members are to raise awareness among their employees and collaborators, while offering safe, supportive work environments where victims can speak up.

“Ten years ago, when we started the transformation of what was PPR at the time into the Kering group, we put sustainability with a capital S at the heart of the transformation and at the heart of our mission as a luxury group,” said Pinault, during his speech at Balenciaga’s headquarters. “In addition to our commitment to the environment, our commitment to the cause of women is the other facet of our corporate responsibility.

“This global commitment to the environment and social responsibility is not a field for competition,” he continued. “It’s not a field of what I call corporate individualism or even selfishness. It’s a field of collective efforts. It’s about sharing. It’s about corporate generosity.”

Agon said it’s a duty to combat the violence inflicted on women. “We made a lot of progress in terms of ethics, in terms of human rights, but this is a very fundamental element of ethics and human rights. We have to do it,” the executive said, adding that L’Oréal will help other companies commit to the cause, too.

The world’s largest beauty company will take part in a research study being instigated on gender-based violence, and raise awareness and offer training on the subject across the company. “We can contribute to change things,” said Agon. “We are really committed to do that.”

Alongside taking an emotional and often economic toll on victims, gender-based violence can have even wider-reaching monetary implications. Gender-based violence costs more than 226 billion euros, while domestic violence costs above 120 billion euros overall yearly in Europe, according to a 2014 study by the European Institute for Gender Equality.

OneInThreeWomen is part of the European initiative called CEASE.

“Mobilizing businesses in the fight against all forms of exclusion is the rule of our foundation. It is the vocation of FACE,” said Gérard Mestrallet, president of the organization composed exclusively of companies.

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