France adopted its national sustainable development strategy in 2003 and its environment charter in 2004.
The purpose of sustainable development for businesses is to improve and assess environmental, social and economic performance.
Policy covering this is established by the:
- CIDD (inter-ministerial committee for sustainable development);
- CNDD (national sustainable development council);
- French chambers of commerce and industry.
France's environment code for businesses is overseen by MEDAD (ecology and sustainable development ministry)
The European directive on water protection and management has set ambitious targets for clean surface and underground water.
France's law on water and aquatic environments has tightened waste water regulations for businesses:
- tougher penalties for business owners disposing of waste illegally ;
- new procedure for obtaining a disposal permit ;
- changes to how pollution tax is calculated - now based on net pollution;
- new levy to help pay for waste collection network modernisation.
The environment code:
- sets out the priorities for waste management;
- provides for departmental and regional plans for eliminating waste;
- lists the classified facilities for protecting the environment and sets out details on issuing permits for operating waste storage or treatment plants.
Businesses are free to go beyond the minimum environmental legal requirements at their own initiative.
All business owners are subject to a company premises declaration procedure. The completed declaration is then sent to the local prefecture.
Anyone producing hazardous waste must submit a hazardous waste tracking document (BSDD) to the environment ministry. All businesses must also pay certain levies, e.g. a special levy for removing non-domestic waste, charges for removing non-hazardous waste, etc.
Permits and licences
The law on water and aquatic environments has amended the disposal permit procedure. This mandatory permit is required by each commune's decontamination department.
The ' water ' nomenclature is a list of plants, structures, works and activities (IOTA) which have an influence on water or how aquatic systems function.
It includes the systems for permits and declarations according to the hazards of the IOTA and the seriousness of their impact on water resources and aquatic systems.
The French environment and energy management agency (ADEME) offers an array of helpful tools:
- 'carbon footprint' software, which calculates a business's greenhouse gas emissions;
- pre-diagnosis and diagnosis specifications to encourage rational energy use;
- eco-business planning.
The chamber of commerce and industry portal offers detailed information on waste management, air, sites and soil, water and energy.
France also has a waste exchange for waste recycling between businesses.