En finir avec la raison d’être” – an op-ed by Philippe Lentschener for Les Echos

25 April 2023

“Inclusive responsibility”, “commitment to a better world”, “building a sustainable future”… The raison d’être has entered the sadly common vocabulary of corporate communication, even if it means creating confusion. In an article for Les Echos, Philipppe Lentschener, President and Founder of Reputation Age, calls on companies to free themselves from fads and to think in a broader framework, notably the Purpose, beyond fads. He also warns them: the raison d’être has never served to build any strategic sovereignty©.

The raison d’être is built on elements external to the company, whereas it should be intimately linked to its ambitions, its dreams, what drove its creation. The mimicry surrounding the raison d’être can even be counterproductive and create a dislike for it. Thought of as it is today, the raison d’être presents a significant lack of singularity for companies that are nevertheless seeking to stand out in the eyes of their stakeholders, investors as well as suppliers, customers, authorities, and public opinion. In a public space that is constantly on the lookout, the sincerity of the issuers of prefabricated raisons d’être exposes them to mistrust at best, and distrust at worst.

Can we stand out by speaking and thinking like everyone else? Can we value our actions, dreams and beliefs by using the same words and perspectives as everyone else? With the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) coming into force on 1 January 2024, extra-financial communication will become more important than it already is. An important issue to follow.

Read the full article “En finir avec la raison d’être” by Philippe Lentschener in the Opinions section of Les Echos.

Op-ed by Philippe Lentschener La Raison d'être