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Interview with Valérie Letierce of Cèdre: Environmental Protection and Employing Individuals with Disabilities


Cèdre, a company combining environmental protection and deploying a workforce, includes a large portion of employees with disabilities Valérie Letierce of Cèdre explains…


Some leaders stand out in environmental sustainability for their unwavering commitment and impactful contributions. One such leader is Valérie Letierce, the Commercial Team Manager at Cèdre Environment.

Since its inception in 2005, Cèdre Environment has been championing recycling solutions across various industries in France. With a firm commitment to ecology and solidarity, the company excels in waste diagnosis, collection, sorting, and recycling, to name a few of its services. Under Valérie’s leadership, the commercial team is crucial in advancing the company’s sustainability and social responsibility mission.


Cèdre Environment’s corporate social responsibility initiatives are exemplary, focusing on employing individuals with disabilities on permanent contracts, fostering inclusion and skill development, maintaining robust social dialogue, and upholding environmental respect by considering their ecological footprint. The trust they have built with customers and partners further cements their reputation as a leader in the recycling industry. In this interview, Valérie shares insights into her work, the company’s values, and the impact of their comprehensive recycling solutions in empowering the disabled in France.


Who was Valérie growing up? A look at her childhood

Valérie showed us a photo of her as a kid and told us, “It’s quite funny because when I chose these photos, I showed them to one of my children, who said, “Oh well, you were already focused on your carbon footprint,” since the mode of transport was the bicycle. I found that quite amusing. These photos evoke family vacation memories, being in a tribe and being very well surrounded. That was the initial reason I chose these two photos.

I’m a little girl who talked a lot. I’ve always heard my parents say that I talked a lot, so I think that being in sales, I’m really in the right place. So, (I’m far from being) discreet, no, I don’t think so, even though I seem quite reserved in the first black-and-white photo, but no, I talked a lot.


On achieving success and empowering disability in the workplace

Valérie then shares another picture with us. This picture shows her among her excellent collaborators at her company in Cèdre Environment. She shared, “I chose this photo because it was a very special moment at Cèdre, the company I’ve worked with since 2019. Last year, we celebrated reaching 200 employees. We surpassed the 200 employees mark, so it was really important for me to share this. It was a beautiful moment– a team moment. We were all celebrating and managed to hire so many people. In 2021, we hired 55 employees. When I joined Cèdre in 2019, we had about 100 employees. Today, in 2024, we have 209 employees, and we will discuss this further, but of these 209 employees, 124 are in a situation of disability. So, it’s a great success, and that’s why we’re all very happy with our arms in the air. It was a moment of celebration that we shared together.


On Cèdre promoting sustainable practices and equal opportunities to the disabled community

Valérie continues, “It’s a great company with a purpose. Young people indeed talk a lot about finding a meaningful job. I’m lucky to work in a company with a social mission that makes sense. To introduce Cèdre, it was founded in 2005 and stands for sustainable job creation in recycling and the environment. We have two main objectives: to protect the planet and to create sustainable jobs for people with disabilities. Cèdre is now the leader in Île-de-France for collecting and sorting twenty-five (25)  types of office waste, ranging from confidential paper to cans, bottles, and other office waste. We assist companies and administrations in recycling, giving meaning to what I do today. Cèdre is an adapted company, meaning it must employ more than 55% of people with disabilities, particularly the deaf and hard of hearing. We like to say that the company adapts to the employees, not vice versa.


She also shared about the daily collaboration with people with disabilities: to give business leaders a closer look into how it is to work with these fantastic people and why misconceptions are just that. Valérie said, “Companies might have misconceptions about hiring people with disabilities from time to time. Companies with over 20 employees must have 6% of their workforce be people with disabilities or pay the AGFIP tax. Working with an adapted company like Cèdre allows them to reduce this tax. Companies can collaborate with adapted companies like ours to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities. Cèdre has an individualized training program, investing 5% of our payroll in training. We have sign language training programs and social workers who visit our three sorting centers in Argenteuil, Buc, and Saint-Maur to assist employees with housing projects and financial management. It’s a comprehensive support program.

Valérie also shares some of the recent developments they have at Cèdre. She continues, “We always try to innovate to offer our clients more recycling options. Recently, a decree was passed in January 2024 requiring all businesses to recycle their organic waste. Cèdre can support them with innovative solutions for recycling this bio-waste, especially for small businesses. This decree is very important, and companies should be attentive to it.


Exploring Cèdre’s potential awards and unique business model centered on ecology and solidarity

With the consistent awards that Cèdre is getting, like the Technology Innovation Trophy, we asked Valérie if they are currently running for other awards, to which she answered: “No, we are not currently pursuing other awards. We are focused on supporting our clients by recycling organic waste, a crucial issue for us. The legal framework requires businesses to sort and recycle waste, including paper, cardboard, wood, metal, plastic, glass, plaster, and mineral fragments, as well as organic waste from this year. We assist 1,800 clients, performing 15,000 collections per month.


She shared more about Cèdre in a brief yet straightforward way: “We work with various types of clients, from small businesses to large corporations, including SNCF, Gessina, and CBRE. We also support specific events and have high client satisfaction.”


The road ahead: What’s next with Valérie at Cèdre

Before we say goodbye to Valérie Letierce, she offers a glimpse into the future of her journey with Cèdre. She said, “At Cèdre, things are constantly changing. I was responsible for a commercial team, but now I manage partnerships. More and more partners are working with Cèdre, from cleaning companies to property managers. This direct sales approach is growing, and partners need precise traceability for waste management, which we provide. I feel like I’m constantly renewing myself at Cèdre, finding purpose in what I do.”


Connect with Valérie Letierce and explore to learn more about the French laws.


Note: The obligation to employ disabled workers (OETH) aims to promote the integration of disabled, war-disabled, and similar workers into the ordinary working environment Public and private employers in the traditional labor market. All employers with 20 or more employees must employ disabled, war-disabled, and similar workers on a full-time or part-time basis, in a proportion of 6% of the total workforce. Here’s how it works.


Newly created companies or those whose workforce has reached the threshold of 20 employees have 5 years to comply with this obligation.
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