Sustainable Innovation

Sustainability in France : From Un-cool to Fashionable
September 21, 2009, 11:27 am
Filed under: Sustainability in France | Tags: , ,


Screenshot of the Film Manifesto ‘Home‘ of Yann Arthus Bertrand

Sustainable Development has been unprofitable and un-cool in France for long. Now France is getting green all over the place. Or at least it pretends it is. What is happening?

  • 2007, was the wake-up year. French  TV personality Nicolas Hulot changed public opinion by launching hisPacte Ecology in the media, signed by over 750.000 people.
  • 2008, the ‘Grennelle d’Environment was initiated by government Sarkozy to develop measures to decrease energy use and greenhouse emissions.
  • 2009, Yann Arthus Bertrand launched his Film Manifesto ‘Home’ to raise the attention on environmental and social matters. One out of six French people voted for the  ‘Verts’  – the Ecologists- at the European elections, a 200% increase compared to 2004.

French welfare state. In the welfare state of France, people were expecting the government to take care of all kinds of social and environmental issues. Companies are there to generate sufficient revenues for the benefit of the companies and its employees. This has all seems to change now.

Customers requests. Customers now require companies to take their social and environmental responsibility. This has lead to environmental and social yearly reports, audits and performance indicators. Well appreciated by stakeholders, but mind : it will be soon a hygiene factor.

Sustainable Innovation . Sustainable Development can be a source of new business opportunities . This could be new technologies, improved products, better services and more efficient processes. It may as well implicate radical innovation changing the business.

Particular challenges in France. As of 2004, I live and work in Paris. I observe how the French public opinion and corporate behaviour is currently changing with respect to  ‘Developpement Durable‘, which can be freely translated by a mixture of Corporate Responsability and Sustainable Development.

My Questions are : How are French enterprises dealing with the increasing environmental and social demands from their customers, shareholders, suppliers and employees ? Do these challenges lead to Sustainable Innovation ? What are best practices ? How to apply them in other companies ?

About my upcoming my posts. In this blog I will describe my observations of Sustainable Development trends in French society. Governmental interventions, corporate lessons learned and events will pass by.  I hope my posts will  inspire and accompany you in the process of Sustainable Business Innovation. Please share your comment and ideas if you have. You can also contact me directly at : Jacobine at

Enjoy  !

jacobine eiffeltoren

Jacobine Das Gupta – Mannak

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