Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
CSR encourages businesses to take account of social and environmental concerns in their business strategies, management and operation methods, and the design of their products and services.
The European Council in Lisbon made CSR a top political priority, resulting in the European Alliance for CSR. France has now followed up these initiatives with its own national sustainable development strategy.
The best way for businesses to integrate CSR is via existing standards, e.g. quality management standards (ISO 9001), environmental management standards (ISO 14001, EMAS), and occupational health and safety management standards (OHSAS 18001).
Environmental Management System (EMS)
EMS is a form of business management that seeks to reduce a business's environmental impact through:
- cost control;
- integrating regulatory constraints;
- satisfying client demands;
- improving a business's image;
- motivating staff.
Socially Responsible Investment (SRI)
SRI is a management method which integrates social and environmental criteria with conventional financial criteria. The SRI manager deals with financial matters (profitability and risk) while taking into account social, ethical and environmental aspects when investing.
The law requires businesses to comply with minimum social and environmental rules.
Applying Corporate Social Responsibility
Businesses interested in introducing CSR can contact the CSR observatory.
The French standardisation agency advises businesses wanting to incorporate the standards into their business.
The French environment and energy management agency (ADEME) helps businesses make the commitment to environmental practices, for example via:
- 'carbon footprint' software, which calculates a business's greenhouse gas emissions;
- pre-diagnostic and diagnostic specifications to promote rational energy use;
- eco-business planning for introducing environmental management;
- the booklet: 'Business travel: a new route for businesses'.
France's waste exchange publishes adverts to help businesses looking to dispose of and/or re-use waste.
An energy diagnosis can reduce energy use by around 20%.