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Agustina Michemberg, Charlois group’s CSR Director, interviewed by Stéphane Ebel

8 March 2023

CSR in her bones!


Agustina Michemberg joined the Charlois group as CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Director in April 2022. CSR is a broad concept defined by the European Commission in 2011 as companies’ responsibility for their impact on society and the environment. Companies, whatever their size, are invited to reflect on and take action to reduce their impact on the environment and enable their staff to find fulfilment in their everyday work. Or, as she prefers to put it: “it’s about showing common sense and consideration as part of a continuous improvement process”. Agustina, who is based in Bordeaux, has now been tasked with this mission across all the Group’s sites and subsidiaries.


Embedded in Group culture

Under Sylvain Charlois’ leadership, CSR became part of the Charlois Group’s culture long before it became a mandatory requirement for publicly listed companies. The Murlin-based company is a forerunner in this field. You only have to drive past the commune’s sign to see that. This is what struck Agustina when she first visited the site. “The Murlin site is perfectly maintained and conveys a very positive image of the Group’s facilities. It’s very important in the context of CSR to provide an agreeable and fulfilling working environment, as this contributes to the well-being of employees in the workplace.


Agustina is a graduate in international relations, a degree that she obtained in her native Argentina, and which she honed through various work experiences abroad, particularly in Italy. “It was during my Erasmus in Italy that I discovered what CSR was all about and it immediately appealed to me. It’s in line with my values, both for the planet and for people. There’s an urgent need to value people and the earth, and to get back to the basics so that we can live in harmony with the environment in the broadest sense of the term.” At Charlois, we care about the environment, and with good reason. “Our raw material is wood, rare and precious wood from the forest, and it’s men and women who work it and shape it. These are men and women with ancestral know-how who work in highly specialised trades: lumberjacks, stave-makers, coopers… trades associated with the forest and the environment. Preserving the environment means preserving these trades and these skills, which are also our heritage”.


Take forward into the future that which has been inherited from the past

From sourcing from sustainably managed forests to reducing transport emissions, from recycling raw materials to reducing packaging, there is a huge amount of work to be done. “The Group is giving itself the resources it needs to take action, and that’s what’s remarkable and remarked about. It’s a determination that is firmly rooted in everyone’s minds”. Agustina’s mission is to make every employee aware of his or her responsibilities and to ensure that everyone feels involved and responsible for meeting the objectives that have been set. It is a mission she has fully taken on board from day one.

“We make our products according to what’s available in the forest. We work with the best wood, and for decades the Group has been able to take pride in using 100% of the oak. The noblest and rarest part (7% of the wood volume), the stave wood, is used to craft oak casks for wine and spirits, of course. As for the rest, 90% is recycled internally (winemaking products, railway sleepers, tiles, cosmetics, etc.), and the remaining 10% (what we refer to as related products: edgings, sawdust, etc.) is recycled externally by local companies or associations.
Oak is exceptional and rare in character, as are the craft skills associated with it. The Group strives to elevate the professions of forester, stave-maker and cooper and is committed to promoting this human heritage and sharing it with as many people as possible through the Fonds Charlois exhibition spaces in Murlin and by welcoming its customers, partners, and even the general public, to its facilities.

All this has been achieved while paying close attention to the environmental impact of its activities and products: reducing energy consumption, cutting down on the number of hoops used, reducing packaging, and optimising transport routes through Charlois Premium Logistique. The group has adopted a business ethos that supports this approach.

In short, at Charlois they are passing on a heritage, enhancing the value of a precious material and managing its impact.


After a phase of information gathering and diagnosis, the time has come for the young woman, now in her thirties and mother of a 3-year-old daughter, to introduce actions and systems common to all the sites in terms of energy savings and renewable energy… The longest journey always begins with a single step, as the saying goes, and while there’s still a long way to go, we can be sure that the Group remains firmly on the right track and that everyone is moving together in the same direction!



Four questions to Agustina Michemberg:

Agustina, you’re originally from Argentina. How did you end up in France?

I came to France out of love, not for the country, which I didn’t yet know, but because my husband is French. We met in Argentina when he was studying there. It was also an opportunity for me to learn French and therefore open doors for my future career.


And within the Charlois group?

I had reached a point in my career where I needed to develop professionally. That’s when I came across the Charlois Group advert on LinkedIn: an international, family-run group with forestry-related activities, and I was immediately hooked!


How do you feel about the group after almost a year?

My first impressions were right. It’s an innovative group, a forerunner in many respects, particularly in the field that concerns me: CSR. Although the Group is constantly growing, it has not abandoned its family, human and environmental values. It’s a big family!


You’re Argentinian and your husband is French. What was the World Cup Final like for you?
Well, to be honest, we both supported Argentina as we were in Argentina at the time. Football is like a religion to me and Messi is like a God. It’s so incredible to have experienced that over there. But we have to admit, we were afraid we’d blow it, but we ended up winning!



Photography © Christophe Deschanel

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