FCP Euro is excited to introduce CSR and welcome a new member to our growing team, Jessica Hinman. Jessica, the former Manager of Global Corporate Social Responsibility at Pratt & Whitney, joins FCP Euro as our Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer. Below is a Q&A regarding what CSR is, Jessica’s personal and professional history, why she’s excited about her opportunity with FCP Euro, and what we can accomplish together.
Jessica, what exactly is CSR?
CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility, but it stems beyond the traditional interpretation and definition of it. Traditionally, it can be surmised as giving back to communities, but it’s more internally focused than that. CSR is really about creating shared value in a company, including the wellness of the employee base, the company’s culture, how those employees engage with their communities, and how all of those efforts together support the local economy, industry and overall propel the company forward. The concept of shared value is not just a company’s corporate social responsibility, philanthropy, or even sustainability but a new way to achieve economic success.
So, what does CSR mean at FCP Euro?
At FCP Euro, we have the opportunity to use our business as an example of an active and deliberate effort to drive the communities we create and serve towards innovation, human equity, and sustainability. As part of our vision to be the most valued and trusted European online auto parts retailer globally, we have a responsibility to make a positive and sustainable impact on the communities we serve. Through collaborative engagement in our communities and our industry, we strive to champion the next generation of automotive enthusiasts, honor those who serve, advocate for human equity, and foster an environmentally friendly & sustainable future.
We also know our FCP Euro core values can drive societal change. Whether it is addressing social issues, employment opportunities, or helping the environment, we continue to find new ways to innovate, compete, and create a sustainable business environment.
What does CSR mean to FCP Euro employees? Why should they care?
Simply put, when our FCP Euro employees believe we are making a difference for our communities and society, they want to get involved in any way possible. Additionally, when they feel that the company is socially and environmentally responsible, they experience a greater sense of identity within the business. Social responsibility can be more important than financial success in determining how much employees identify with their workplace because they feel a deeper connection. At FCP Euro, we encourage and support our employees to get involved in causes they care about. Through our employee matching gift program, skills-based volunteerism, and group fundraising, our teams can make a sustainable difference in our communities and society.
Along with increasing our current employees’ engagement, CSR helps FCP Euro be more inviting to prospective new hires. Research conducted by Cone Millennial Cause group, detailed in The 2020 Workplace, found that 80% of under 25-year-olds wanted to work for a company that cares about how it impacts and contributes to society. More than half said they would refuse to work for an irresponsible corporation. As a leading force in the European Automotive Aftermarket parts and motorsport, we need to continue to foster a collaborative and innovative culture that drives change throughout the industry and attracts top talent.
Why is this important to European Car enthusiasts? Why should they care?
I’ll flip that around - why shouldn’t they? We are all global citizens and human beings whose actions contribute to building our global community’s values and practices. We all share responsibility for what is happening in our communities and society, and we are members of a worldwide community of people who share this concern. The automotive industry specifically is experiencing a transformation. Reform is required in numerous areas, including product planning, development, production, motorsports sales, and services, in order to innovate and succeed.
Specifically, in the European car community, there’s so much opportunity for how we could be doing better as citizens and habitants of this world together. Think about the environment in the way we package, sell, use, recycle car parts throughout carbon-neutral facilities. Consider how we engage our communities with car shows, motorsports events and how we can leverage that momentum to support and engage local organizations. Finally, examine our society and human equity. We know there are huge socio-economic, racial, and gender disparities in the U.S. and internationally that affect us as a business. We’re just started scratching the surface for how we can make a sustainable impact.
How does a business (like, say, FCP Euro) balance doing what’s right for the community versus what’s right for the business? Do the two priorities ever conflict, and if they do, how do we handle it?
So the most critical point to understand is that business and societal interests are not mutually exclusive, so what’s good for society is good for FCP Euro. Therefore, we, as a growing company, have a vested interest in addressing society’s challenges. We must continue to connect company success with social progress as we believe that it can give rise to the next major transformation of business thinking.
The causes FCP Euro supports and positions we take are based on research, due diligence, critical review, and employee and stakeholder feedback. So anytime we decide to voice our opinion, it comes with the confidence knowing we have the company aligned toward that decision, whatever the outcome may be. We want to be the company that doesn’t just “voice” their opinion or “stand” for something; we want to back that up and take action. Our employees, customers, and stakeholders deserve nothing less.
What would you want our employees to say two, three, five years down the road about their relationship and experience with CSR?
There are two main intentions that I remind myself of daily. 1) I truly want our employees to be able to say that I like my job, I love what we’re doing here, and I feel supported both inside and out as a person, and; 2) I also want them to see that FCP Euro is getting out, giving back, and supporting our next generation of employees through causes they care about.
Would that be any different from how you would want our customers to feel about CSR?
Absolutely not. Every person that interacts with FCP Euro is a vested partner in CSR. We say “customers” as the people who purchase the items from our website; however, our employees and stakeholders are our customers too. I want them to be the same. Our customers come to us because they like our products, our customer service, our motorsports, and our content, but I desire the same for someone who is trying to make a difference in their community, looking to FCP Euro as a driving force for change. I want our customers to feel as dedicated to our cause as our employees are.
What made you interested in CSR? How did you get started?
If you asked me ten years ago if I ever envisioned a career in Corporate Social Responsibility, I would have responded with, “what does that even mean?” Little did I know that my first “real” job working for Starbucks Coffee Company at 16 would shape my desire for companies, nonprofits, and governments to work together for social and societal change. Starbucks, among others, was one of the forerunners in identifying and developing a business model where they truly invested in their employees, community, and society. At 18 years old, while studying for my BA, Starbucks offered medical insurance, tuition support and encouraged employees to participate in philanthropy and their Fair Trade Coffee programs. That set my bar pretty high for any company or organization I worked for in the future. I expected every industry and business to operate that way; however, that was not always the case. I started to realize that businesses, charitable organizations, and local governments did not have the tools or subject matter experts to guide them on how to communicate and collaborate. Even worse, there were systemic flaws and redundancies which lead these industries to silo themselves and work in a vacuum. I began to comprehend that if all types and sizes of businesses learned how to collaborate locally and globally, real change was possible, and I needed to be a part of it.
So prior to my role here at FCP Euro, I was the Manager of Global Corporate Social Responsibility for Pratt & Whitney, part of the Raytheon Technologies Corporation (RTX). My position there involved working with key partners and executive leadership across Pratt & Whitney and RTX business units and functions to ensure alignment and coordination of all internal and external communication programs with a focus on creating a stronger CSR identity and sustainable shared value. Prior to that, I had a successful record of community engagement and marketing strategy from my position as Community Engagement Director for Hartford’s Camp Courant – where I cultivated business relationships with corporate, foundation, and government supporters through sponsorships, employee engagement, donations, and in-kind support, among other responsibilities.
Along with my professional career, I am a martial arts instructor and international competitor. I love sports and athletics in general, anything to keep me moving and nurture my competitive spirit! I am active on several nonprofit boards, committees and volunteer in multiple capacities in my community. My other hobbies include traveling, cooking for friends and family, and cruising on my motorcycle (a Yamaha V-Star) when the weather is warm. My car (or bike) will always stop for a bookstore, antique shop, or historical museum!
If you would like to learn more about CSR at FCP Euro, you can do so by visiting cares.fcpeuro.com.