Supporting France's Urban Renewal Programme
Sodexo has launched La Passerelle which it describes as a "new economic model" for the promotion of employability, health through food, and social cohesion in priority neighbourhoods identified by France's National Urban Renewal Agency.
Developed in response to calls from the agency for creative proposals for regenerating "Quartiers Fertiles" (Fertile Neighbourhoods), the company's first La Passerelle centre will open in the Clichy-sous-Bois commune in the eastern suburbs of Paris in 2022, within the vicinity of a vegetable processing plant and community space.
It is expected to create 20 local jobs and support more than 500 residents with activities, events and training sessions.
The La Passerelle concept supports Sodexo's dual mission of improving the quality of life of employees and people it serves, and contributing to the economic, social and environmental development of communities it operates in.
La Passerelle also introduces a programme of activities which has been jointly developed with local organisations and NGOs to ensure it meets local community needs by improving employment prospects, social cohesion and public wellbeing by providing nutritional advice.
Facilities offered by the Clichy-sous-Bois centre will include daycare as high childcare costs have been identified as a principal barrier to employment and training.
Certified by Bâtiments Durables Franciliens as well as E+C-, the new building will feature a wooden facade and "green" roof to help offset the urban heat island effect, and will operate broadly in accordance with the principles of a circular economy, from supply to waste management.
The project additionally supports and promotes urban agriculture by guaranteeing commercial markets for the produce of local farmers and raising local awareness of "short" supply chains.
A model for the whole of France
With La Passerelle, Sodexo is leveraging its identity in the French market and knowledge of local and inclusive procurement procedures to help establish a new economic model.
Supported by the National Urban Renewal Agency, the group has set a target of launching ten similar projects nationally by 2025.
Sophie Bellon, Sodexo Chairwoman, comments: "We are proud to be the driving force behind this new, inclusive and sustainable economic model. It falls within the Group’s historic commitment to social responsibility, while also meeting consumers’ desire for a more local and sustainable diet. The return to sustainable growth and the stepping up of our inclusive and supportive approach are closely linked. The crisis is exacerbating the economic and social needs of communities, and I have no doubt that it is at the local level that the responses to many current challenges are to be found. Companies have a key role to play, in partnership with public bodies and associations."
Olivier Klein, Mayor of Clichy-sous-Bois and Chair of France's National Urban Renewal Agency, adds: "As Mayor of Clichy-sous-Bois, I'm thrilled about the opening of La Passerelle in 2022. It is above all great news for local residents, who will be the first beneficiaries, and will see its practical impact in terms of employment, health, nutrition and social cohesion. A truly multipurpose community space, La Passerelle is a unique model which will become a reality thanks to financial and operational support from the Quartiers Fertiles call for projects launched by the National Urban Renewal Agency and its partners. The Quartiers Fertiles' call for projects has already provided support to 75 project leaders throughout the country, to democratise and accelerate the introduction of urban agriculture to neighborhoods."