With its programme H³ – Heart, Head, Hand, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès aims to promote the gestures that shape the world of today and those which invent the world of tomorrow by supporting Hermès staff in their charitable engagements. In 2018, a new international call for participation was launched throughout the group to encourage staff to propose public-interest actions that respond to local issues. Four Hermès entities were initially selected for this edition of the programme, and were joined by others in 2019 as part of the fourth edition. In each case, volunteer staff members start by choosing a theme relevant to their local area, on which to base their actions. After identifying an organisation already working on the chosen issue, staff join up with the its members to design a specific project, which is supported by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès over three years. This duration allows the actions to take root and become sustainable, in anticipation of the future participation of new “ambassadors” from the house of Hermès.
The selected themes naturally correspond to the Foundation’s fields of action, particularly the transmission of skills, which is indeed the common denominator shared by these diverse initiatives. In London (United Kingdom), staff members at Hermès UK have joined forces with the social enterprise Goldfinger Factory to support two apprentice carpenters (2018-2021). In Shanghai (China), the transmission of baking and pastry-making skills informs a youth-oriented professional training programme devised by Shanghai Young Bakers in collaboration with Hermès China (2021-2023).
Professional training and development are also a unifying theme for several projects backed by Hermès teams in France. In Seine-Saint-Denis (France), a group from the Pôle Façonnier (manufacturing division) were eager to support teenagers and young adults who had dropped out of education. They have partnered with the LFKS Collective/LA FABRIKS to offer young people individual and group coaching sessions to boost their personal development and find new educational and professional trajectories (2020-2022). In the same region, the Hermès Femme teams are working alongside “newcomers” – recent arrivals to the area who may not yet have mastered its socio-cultural codes. To this end, they have joined forces with SINGA, an organisation that recognises and promotes alternative skill sets in the people it works with, which can only offer enriching encounters for the H³ team. The project involves joint cultural activities that create a space for meeting and interaction, as well as wider outreach to encourage inclusive recruitment practices among local businesses (2020-2022).
The sense of solidarity that underpins all of these projects is sometimes placed at the forefront through specially devised actions. In the Puy-de-Dôme, for example, a team from the Maroquinerie de Sayat worked alongside charitable organisation RECITAL 63 to raise awareness of “dys” disorders through an ad hoc information campaign in this rural area (2018-2020). Access to culture is another common theme, which is at the heart of an initiative spearheaded by the Hermès Services Groupe in Seine-Saint-Denis. The staff supported local charity Musique pour Tous to help organise practical music workshops in the working-class Est Ensemble administrative area (2019-2021).
The preservation of biodiversity is a major challenge we face together, which the Foundation addresses through two dedicated programmes. This concern is also the focus of two H³ projects outside France. The teams at Hermès Hong Kong have partnered with a local non-profit organisation, The Nature Conservancy, to protect the traditional oyster-farming ecosystem on the territory’s coast (2019-2021), while, in the United States, a group from Hermès of Paris in Florida is similarly working to preserve the state’s coastlines, with the participation of local schools (2020-2022).
Together, these projects, supported as part of the H³ programme, form an international ecosystem of targeted charitable actions that respond to local challenges. Thanks to the on-the-ground engagement of the Hermès staff who act as its local ambassadors, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès is able to exercise philanthropy in a way that is both pragmatic and responsible.