The current French ‘NRE’ law (*) obliges French listed companies to create a yearly CSR report. New laws are under preparation as a part of the new ‘Grenelle d’Environnement’. Also non-listed large French companies with over 500 employees and French subsidiaries of foreign companies will be asked to report about social and environmental issues on a yearly basis. If the new laws are accepted this summer, carbon footprint calculations and CSR report will become common activities throughout France.
* NRE : Nouvelle Réglementation Economique, article 116.
The IDEA team (Integration Developpement Durable Acteurs Economiques) within the French Ministery of Ecologie, Energy, Developpement Durable et de la Mer (MEEDDM) is working on ‘Helping, stimulating, insisting companies to develop their business in a Sustainable Way’.
The team is working on a ‘toolbox’ to stimulate French enterprises to integrate Sustainability in their daily business. One of them is the creation of a public portal of Best Practices. The other working stream consists of the creation of new laws.
1. Creation of a Public Portal for CSR Best Practices Grenelle II Engagement 197 (1) implies the creation of a RSE information platform (‘Responsabilité Social et Environmentale’ in French). The RSE portal should be hosted by a governmental body and information should be accessable for free. It is the objective to promote CSR reporting and exchange on best practices (1) by providing comparative research, sector analyses and industry practices.
Foreseen partners are the ORSE (Observatoire Responsabilité Sociale et Environmental), entreprises, ONGs and the Financial Authorithy (AMF) who collects the annual reports of listed companies. The intention is to cooperate with similar bodies abroad.
2. New laws that will follow up the current law ‘NRE’ . What will be new ? Four laws are under preparation : article 82, 83, 84 and 85, expected to be presented to the French parliament in June :
Article 82 will oblige all companies to mention in their yearly report if they have anticipated on the obligations of Sustainable Development, yes or no.
Article 83 explains that as from now all companies with over 500 employees and over 43 million euro annual revenues will be obliged to present a social and environmental yearly report. Further defined parameters and descriptions are, among other sources, inspired by international standards like the Global Reporting Initiative and the new ISO 26000 norm.
A few examples of elements of the new concept-law
- The use of natural resources (water, primary materials, energy),
- Their Carbon footprint (green house gas emissions)
- The Measurements taken to reduce its environmental footprint.
- The way employees are informed about risques and renewable energies
- Defined stakeholder dialogues, with action holders, subcontractors, suppliers, citizens as well as employee representatives (comité d’entreprises)
- Explanation of HR policy related to the standards of the International Labour Organisation
Article 84 will oblige foreign companies with a French Subsidiary to report on CSR issues as well.
Article 85 describes the new ‘Eco Cost’ label as of 2011, following Borloos wish for an ‘Eco-Etiquette, that will oblige producers to present, among other indicators the carbon footprint of each and every individual product and its packaging.
There are no sanctions or penalties foreseen if a company does not comply to the new laws. However, the French government believes, the guidelines will become common practices (like the ISO 9000 norms for instance).
With the new laws under preparation and the growing demands of customers it is expected that reporting on social and environmental issues, and not in least the carbon footprint analyses, will become as common as the early morning café in France.
1. Grenelle d’Environnement II Engagement nr 197 : http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/rapport_final_comop_25.pdf
2. Descriptions articles 82, 83, 84, 85 : http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/Guide_Grenelle_cle51a954.pdf
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