January 18, 2022

France, a country where committed companies are among the most efficient in the world

Posted on December 23, 2021

France stands out in a promising area, corporate social responsibility (CSR). The country is indeed in the top three of Ecovadis’ list of the best performing countries in this area, just behind Sweden and Norway and far ahead of Germany (15th) or the United States (25th). To establish its ranking, the CSR policy rating platform relies on more than 80,000 evaluations and is based on several criteria including social issues or ethics and the prevention of corruption, data where France shines.

Cock-a-doodle Doo ! France takes third place in the world ranking of the most successful companies in terms of CSR, neck and neck with Sweden and Norway, according to the study conducted jointly by Ecovadis and the Mediator of companies. The awards are based on four criteria: preservation of the environment, respect for social and human rights, the application of ethical measures and the implementation of responsible purchasing. French companies thus obtain an overall score of 54.3 / 100, which is better than the average of their European counterparts (52.5) ​​and of the OECD (51). The CSR policy rating platform, which has established this ranking since 2015, specifies that “France is experiencing one of the best progressions in the European Union“.

The score of large French companies (58) brings up the national average, unlike that of French SMEs (53.7), which are however both higher than those of the EU, respectively by 52.8 and 52.5. France also has a greater proportion of companies qualified as “exemplary level” by Ecovadis with 19% of model companies obtaining a score above 65/100 against 13% on average in the EU.

There is an ecosystem favorable to CSR in France, driven by a demanding cultural and regulatory framework, notably with the deployment of the Pacte law and the application of the duty of vigilance.“, explains Sylvain Guyoton, vice-president of Ecovadis. To support his point, the expert underlines that only half of SMEs / ETI, which are not concerned by the duty of vigilance, have taken up the subject of responsible purchasing compared to 87% of large companies assessed which have implemented at least one responsible purchasing action, resulting in the France average on this subject being among the three best averages.

In addition, France stands out from other countries on social criteria and even obtains the best score in this area. It is also experiencing the strongest progress on issues related to ethics and the prevention of corruption, with an increase of 20% in 6 years. Here again the regulatory framework has been an incentive, according to Ecovadis. “The Sapin 2 law and the RGPD imposed a regulatory framework on companies, which pushed latecomers to take up the subject“, indicates Sylvain Guyoton.

Great disparity in France

But all the indicators are not yet green. French companies are notably less efficient than others in terms of the environment, a criterion on which the country is no longer part of the top three. France is in 5th place behind Spain and Norway. All countries have indeed improved on this subject, scrutinized by governments or consumers, indicates Ecovadis. However, France shows less progress than its peers with a score that fell from 50.2 in 2015 to 54.9 in 2020.

Globally, “French companies still have a long way to go“, emphasizes Sylvain Guyoton. The expert adds that”the overall average of the country hides great disparities between companies, with 19% of French companies which are far behind“. On this point Finland and Sweden make the difference because the group of the worst pupils is smaller.”The industrial fabric in Sweden and Finland is more homogeneous, companies are making progress together on the subjects and the incentives to action are stronger in the Scandinavian countries.“, Sylvain Guyoton analyzes.

The two countries at the top of the podium also posted better scores in responsible purchasing. “The next step to improve CSR performance in France will be to make supply chains even more responsible.“, indicates the specialist. He also underlines that it would be necessary to encourage more companies to fight against corruption, with the establishment of a label for example to encourage the good practices.

Mathilde Golla @Mathgolla