Research Department Working Paper n°42

Multinational enterprises and social protection: A case study of the L’Oréal Share & Care Program​

Recognizing the possible beneficial effects for workers and enterprises, many MNEs have undertaken or are currently planning to undertake programs to offer social protection to their employees, going beyond legal obligations. This is a voluntary effort by enterprises that falls under the CSR framework. In this regard, this paper analyses improvement in coverage due to the implementation of such a program, L’Oréal’s Share & Care, and explores the possible effects of the change in a large number of benefits on performance-related indicators. It is also the first attempt to examine the impact of a social program by a company participating in the Global Business Network.

This paper was produced within the framework of a Public-Private-Partnership agreement between the Research Department and the cosmetics company L’Oréal to analyse the implementation and possible effects of the Share &Care social protection program.

While CSR engagement by enterprises seems to be the growing focus of analysis and research, privately provided social protection is a topic rarely explored. However, enterprises may play a role in extending social protection by providing benefits through voluntary social initiatives or corporate social responsibility (CSR), sometimes at higher levels than government provisions. Indeed, the number of multinational enterprises (MNEs) that are implementing or considering implementing such programs seems to be on the rise.

With the aim of contributing to this literature, the paper explores first how CSR initiatives can support the objective of extending social protection. Then, on the basis of privately held data provided by L’Oréal, it analyses whether the implementation of the program has led to any changes in the benefits provided by L’Oréal firms in different countries. Finally, it explores the links between two indicators related to firm performance (turnover and absenteeism) and the different elements of the program based on quantitative methodologies. The analysis is limited based on data availability; thus, the paper makes some suggestions about how the effects of the program could be better evaluated with access to more specific indicators.