The story of VIVESCIA began in the early 20th century when the farmers of North-Eastern France decided to join forces to shape their future. Today, strong of its roots, the Group retains its vocation: to develop a sustainable economic model that creates value for all and ensures a strong future for all agricultural activities, at home and abroad… Its philosophy of action remains unchanged: decisions are taken collectively and investments are made for the long-term. This is what we call “patient capitalism”.
The Board of Administration
It consists of 25 Administrators, mainly farmers, elected by the VIVESCIA members. They represent the...
The Group Executive Committee
It works in close and constant relationship with the members of the Board of Administration
BALANCED AND TRANSPARENT
The Board of Administrationrepresents the VIVESCIA member-farmers. Through the various entities of governance, they share and decide upon the Group’s strategic directions. The Board of Administrations consists of:
The President of VIVESCIA who is a farmer elected by the Board of Administration.
25 administrators, including 24 farmers elected by the members
9 of these administrators form the Bureau
1 member represents the Employees Shareholding Funds (FCPE),
4 members are from the Workers Council.
The Group Executive Committee works in close relationship with the Board of Administration. In charge of the financial results and the business performance of the Group, it also proposes and implements the strategy for achieving the objectives set by the Board of Administration. The Group Executive Committee consists of 10 members, including the managers of the Group and its companies.
WITH PARTICIPATIVE AND DYNAMIC OPERATIONS!
Across all entities (The Board of Administration and its Bureau, The Executive Committee, the 18 Sector councils and the 2 Regional councils), 83 meetings were organised over the 2019-2020 financial year.
Short decision-making process for a better management of the Group. The governance consists of many members (361 elected farmers) but the rapid circulation of information promotes responsiveness and efficiency. As our activities and our expertise about the grain are very diversified, our governance also ensures coherence between the strategies of our several entities.
"VIVESCIA’s strength resides in the connection of energies with talents, agricultural savoir-faire with industrial expertise, the fields with the markets… This is the virtue of VIVESCIA's cooperative and entrepreneurial model: working together!"
— Christoph Büren, VIVESCIA President
A continuously improving governance model
We are convinced that governance is central to the long-term future of cooperatives. To ensure that we can successfully address the changing face of the agricultural world and economic turbulence, the VIVESCIA governance structure has its roots in a commitment to continuous progress.
So over the years, our governance structure has evolved to ensure the correct balance of power between the cooperative members, the administrators who represent them and the senior executives responsible for the operational aspects of the business. It is from this perspective that VIVESCIA helps its elected administrators to carry out their functions and exercise their responsibilities by providing high-level training courses (the ESSEC Sénèque programme and at NEOMA in Reims).
Feedback from Marie Gailliot, Farmer, administrator, VIVESCIA Industries Supervisory Board member and Section President (Mazagran), who joined the ESSEC-Sénèque training programme set up by the industry body La Coopération Agricole.
Farmer and administrator
Obviously, you don’t manage a cooperative with more than 7,000 employees and processing subsidiaries in France and abroad the same way you manage your farm: everything is on a completely diff erent scale! I would say that this training programme is absolutely essential for administrators if they are to make a full contribution. And this study cycle of 3 days per month over 8 months, plus a fi eld study trip, is really amazing: the programme itself, the course content delivered by the trainers, and the external speakers who have a great deal of knowledge about the cooperative world.
It also provides a valuable opportunity to meet other administrators in very different cooperatives, compare experiences and fi nd out more about what is happening in other parts of the cooperative system. It’s a really valuable training opportunity. But VIVESCIA goes even further, because a dedicated annual budget is now voted on and allocated to help elected representatives expand their knowledge of the skills and expertise required of them as administrators.
We meet two committed cooperative farmers
Sector Councillor in Dormans
Alexandre, how did you become a farmer and winegrower? My career path is rather an unusual one, because having graduated in business studies from NEOMA in Reims, I started my professional life in bancassurance. I very quickly realised that I wasn't really cut out to be stuck behind a desk. Since I was also qualified as a farm manager, I decided to set up a company specialising in renewables. At the same time, I got together with my brother to take over a farm in Vertus, with the help of my father, who was also a farmer before he retired. In 2012, my wife and I had the opportunity to buy some vines in Épernay, since when I’ve focused fully on these two businesses.
You were elected as a VIVESCIA Cooperative sector councillor in November 2019, but what persuaded you to stand for office? Before putting myself forward, I was already a keen observer of the VIVESCIA Cooperative and its development, because it was my first partner organisation. And then, I was lucky enough to be invited to a financial statements presentation at a meeting of the Dormans sector council. I found the experience fascinating. As well as my involvement in the financial supervision of the Cooperative, being a sector councillor gives me the opportunity to meet other farmers with very different backgrounds and interests. The fundamental concept of the Cooperative is the conviction that we are stronger together. So that togetherness must extend to the discussion of issues out of which new ideas emerge...
As a newly elected sector councillor, how do you see your role relative to your peers in the Cooperative? I listen attentively to what they have to say. That’s because I see the primary role of a sector councillor as being there to witness what’s actually happening in the fields, on the farms and in the silos... I see myself as providing a true reflection of reality and feeding that information back to others. It’s important that farmers take the plunge and meet their sector councillor. They really do need to talk to us and share their ideas with us. From our perspective, we must work together to share information more effectively, so that every farmer is always fully informed about, and involved in, the life of our VIVESCIA Cooperative. More consultation and the creation of special groups on WhatsApp are examples that open up new avenues for interaction between administrators, sector councillors and farmers. As a sector councillor, you’re not only an information broker, but also a proactive stakeholder in all the major debates that go on inside VIVESCIA!
Have you always been an active member of the cooperative? Yes, because the power we have is the power we grant ourselves. I also wanted to broaden my horizons. Being an administrator is a rewarding, but challenging, experience. The role also requires us to learn new skills. VIVESCIA offers training programmes that help us fulfil our responsibilities. So as we learn, we are entrusted with new missions.
What does the Remuneration Committee actually do? Its role is to ensure that the (direct and indirect) remuneration packages of the ten senior Group executives (VIVESCIA Agriculture and VIVESCIA Industries) are consistent with market rates. HR helps us to fulfil this role. And, if necessary, we can call on the expertise of specialist consultants. The cooperative mission of VIVESCIA Group should allow us to attract and retain the most talented people in the job market.
How does the committee operate? The Remuneration Committee has 4 members: Christoph Büren (President of VIVESCIA), Nicolas Demoury (President of the VIVESCIA Industries Supervisory Board and Vice-President of VIVESCIA), Christine Mondollot (representing BPI France) and me. We meet 4 times a year on average. The process within which the committee operates has been more participatory since 2017. Which means committee meetings are longer. But that simply makes the experience even more fascinating! So I would encourage young farmers to get involved in shaping the VIVESCIA Cooperative to meet the needs of the future.