In a European and global context devoted to CSR, it is interested to look at the French process. According to a survey carried out by Philippe Zarlowski, the French approach on CSR issues is based on principles that make this approach specific when compared to other Western countries. France is keen on creating laws and regulations but not on the field of CSR. CSR refers to philosophy, in France, CSR is less considered as a risk factor than in Anglo-Saxon countries. In France, CSR is a duty for companies (Article 1.1.6 of 2001 Act) to complete statements on the actions referring to social and environmental aspects. Measuring the impact of this legislation is not easy and CFIE reports, IGO documents and works from Ernst & Young are a valuable source of data. The comparison of developments of CSR within companies between 2001 and 2007 is based on the compliance of the legislation. It seems that during the first stage of 2001-2004, there has been clear improvement, companies whatever their sector made efforts to comply with the regulation by internal reporting processes and the annual statement. The effort was diluted between 2005 and 2006 but the findings must be nuanced depending on the sector concerned. In the energy sector, it would be too risky for them to ignore CSR in terms of image. There is no homogeneity amongst sectors. In the automotive industry, the second best company in terms of CSR is the 42nd best performing company in general. Beyond a potential sector-based dynamic, it is an individual choice for companies to make considering the cost linked to this exercise. With regards to the statements made by companies, it appears that financial aspects are more often mentioned than social aspects because the latter are less objective. Information on CSR is more disseminated to shareholders rather than to employees. Could improvements be made by international standards or sector-based approach? Could sanctions be envisaged? How should it be translated at the European level? In 2004, the Report of the European Economic and Social Committee favoured the partnership approach and the standardisation approach. But according to the latest report of Richard Howitt, it seems that the European Parliament is much more in favour of a voluntary approach to CSR. The opposition of models is not useful. CSR implications are efficient and companies cannot risk not integrating it. Directors must send to their own management the message that CSR is a priority. The reporting exercise must not become academic or artificial to be repeated at the European level.
DE BEAUFORT, V. et ZARLOWSKI, P. (2007). Promouvoir le rapport RSE de la loi française à l’échelle de l’UE. Dans: Proceedings of the European Confederation of Directors’ Associations: CSR: What’s in it for Directors? ECODIA.