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Corporate Social Responsibility in France

Sustainable Finance, Climate Finance: The French and European Impetus for Sustainable Growth

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Current Global Practices of Corporate Social Responsibility

Part of the book series: CSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance ((CSEG))

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Developments in finance relating to CSR and, more broadly, to sustainable development (SRI funds, for example) have shown that this emerging finance is not entirely “alternative” in the original sense of the term, meaning another form of finance alongside the financial markets. A genuinely climate-friendly or resilient finance is emerging and its causes are well known: the burgeoning worldwide population and rising levels of GHG (greenhouse gases) driven by the fossil-fuels industry, transport and cities.

The Paris Agreement ( signed on 12 December 2015 is an important milestone. Europe is an undisputed leader with the “Juncker Plan” of November 2014 aiming to re-launch investment in Europe and unblock public and private investments. It is in line with the need for decarbonisation already set out in the European Parliament resolution of 5 February 2014 “on a 2030 framework for climate and energy policies” (2013/2135 (INI)) ( drawing on the Commission Green Paper entitled “A 2030 framework for climate and energy policies” (COM (2013).

However, this climate finance brings specific requirements, despite considerable private-sector efforts, such as the Green Bond Principles or the Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI): a need for transparency, to combat greenwashing and to establish a genuine market for Green Bonds.

In France, in 2008 the Paris Marketplace launched a major initiative on sustainable finance with a Responsible Investment Charter which was supplemented in 2012 by 10 proposals for Europe on SRI and CSR. Then the TEEC label (Transition Energétique et Ecologique pour le Climat—Energy and Ecological Transition for the Climate) launched at the end of 2015 aims to guarantee the transparency and quality of the environmental features of such financial products via an independent external audit. Yet, Article 173 of the French LTECV Act on the Energy Transition for Green Growth is an example to be followed (17th August 2015).

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    PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment) available at

  2. 2.

    Available at accessed on 22 june 2011

  3. 3.

    Cusacq (2005, p. 129).

  4. 4.

    “Organismes de placements collectif de valeurs mobilières” (Mutual Funds of securities) such as “FCP” (Fonds Communs de Placement) (Mutual Funds) and “SICAV” (Société d’Investissement à Capital Variable).

  5. 5.

    Rubinstein (2006).

  6. 6.

    Richardson (2008).

  7. 7.

    Geczy, Stambaugh, and Levin (2005), Renneboog, Horst, and Zhang (2008), Landier and Nair (2008).

  8. 8.

    Novethic, the sustainable development expert medium, available at responsable.jsp

  9. 9.

    CERES (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies) available at

  10. 10.

    Malecki (2009a).

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    Wolff (2004).

  12. 12.

    Bernstein (2008).

  13. 13.

    Malecki (2009b).

  14. 14.

    Louche and Lydenberg (2006).

  15. 15.

    Dion, Wolff, et al. (2008)

  16. 16.

    ORSE (Observatoire sur la responsabilité sociétale des entreprises, publishes a guide that includes its methodology, available at

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  18. 18.

    Clermontel (2009).

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    “Recommendations on socially responsible investment” (2008) accessed on 14 May 2008

  20. 20.

    Such as “CDC”, “Caisse des dépôts et consignations”.

  21. 21.

    Available at

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    Available at accessed on 22 June 2011

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    Available in pdf form at:

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    See pdf available at:

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    UNFCCC (2014), Cadman (2014).

  26. 26.

  27. 27.

    Malecki (2015a).

  28. 28.

    The IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) 5th report, which appeared in October 2014, is significant in this respect:

  29. 29.

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    Mention should also be made of the Warehouse for Energy Efficiency Loans and the Connecticut Green Bank Program.

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    Malecki (2014).

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    This and all subsequent quotations from French sources have been translated into English.

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    CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion 2016, 19 October 2016

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    See the Canfin-Grandjean report, (2015), available at and the various French Finance Strategy initiatives.

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    Innovation in the construction sector with the creation of a ‘Guarantee Fund for Energy Renovation’.

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    Cf. the OECD report of 25 August 2014 entitled ‘Scaling-up Finance Mechanisms for Biodiversity’.

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    Malecki (2015a, 2015b)

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    Law 2015-992 of 17 August 2015: JO 18 August 2014, p. 14263.

  45. 45.

    The initial version went further still, adding “as well as on its societal commitments to promote sustainable development and the circular economy”.

  46. 46.

    The “circular economy” is defined as follows in Art. 70 of the LTECV, amending Art. L. 110-1-1 of the Environmental Code: “The aim of the transition to a circular economy is to move beyond a linear ‘extract-manufacture-consume-dispose’ economic model by calling for moderate and responsible consumption of natural resources and primary raw materials, as well as, in order of priority, the prevention of waste, particularly through the reuse of products and in accordance with a hierarchy of waste treatment methods, and the reuse, recycling or, where these are not possible, the recovery of waste, etc.”

  47. 47.

    The initial wording of the law went further as it implied that a company should provide an “analysis of the long-term risks to which it is exposed” in its consolidated annual report.

  48. 48.

    Art. L. 541-1(2) of the Environmental Code “advocates extending the period for which manufactured products can be used by raising awareness among consumers”.

  49. 49.

    Title VIII is eloquent: “empowering citizens, businesses, local authorities and government to take action together”.

  50. 50.

    Cf. Environmental Code, Art. L. 110-1-1, as amended by Law 2015-992 of 17 August 2015, Art. 70, which sets out a definition of the circular economy.

  51. 51.

    Particularly, once again, on the question of determining whether companies are subject to these disclosure requirements on the basis of their size and the nature of their activities.

  52. 52.

    Loi n°2015-992 du 17 août 2015 relative à la transition énergétique pour la croissance verte, JORF n°0189 du 18 août 2014 page 14263 texte n°1.

  53. 53.

    Article L. 100-1 7° of the Energy Code states that the energy policy ‘Contributes to the establishment of a European Union of Energy, which aims to guarantee security of supply and to build a competitive low-carbon economy through the development of renewable energies, physical interconnections, support for improving energy efficiency and the implementation of instruments for coordinating national policies’.

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  57. 57.

    Cf. the Green Book ‘Building a Capital Markets Union’, COM (2015) 63 final,

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    Green Book, p. 5.

  59. 59.

    The Green Book highlights the role of the Green Bond Principles and the ‘standardisation process’ (p. 15) currently engaged in by the World Bank, the EIB and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

  60. 60.


  61. 61.

    Production of wind, hydroelectric, wave, tidal, solar and geothermal energy. Linked to energy efficiency (district heating, cogeneration, building insulation, reduction of energy loss during transportation).

  62. 62.

    Figures available at

  63. 63.

    Cf. p. 10 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, The european Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, Next steps for a sustainable European future, COM(2016) 739 final, 22th November 2016

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    Proposal for a regulation amending Regulation (EU) 2016/1011 on low carbon benchmarks and positive carbon impact benchmarks,

  68. 68.

    Malecki (2015c).

  69. 69.

    Mention should also be made of the green bond issuance launched by the Ile-de-France region through Euronext in April 2014.

  70. 70.

    See Green Bond Principles 2014: Voluntary Process Guidelines for Issuing Green Bonds.

  71. 71.

    Which already in fact exist with renewable energies, sustainable agriculture, sustainable transport and drinking water.

  72. 72.

    See the IFC report entitled ‘Definitions and Metrics for Climate - Related Activities’, April 2014. Available at

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    See the Observatoire sur la Responsabilité Sociétale des Entreprises (ORSE) publication entitled ‘Conférence bancaire et financière sur la transition énergétique’, 2 June 2014:

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Malecki, C. (2021). Corporate Social Responsibility in France. In: Idowu, S.O. (eds) Current Global Practices of Corporate Social Responsibility. CSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance. Springer, Cham.

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