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CSR in companies

CSR, or corporate social responsibility, is a key tool in the quest for performance and commitment of a company. It integrates social and environmental factors into the daily concerns of a company's life, which it reflects through its image and which it transmits to its employees.

CSR can therefore be defined simply as the contribution of companies to sustainable development issues. By definition, a company that practices CSR will strive to have a positive impact and message while being economically viable. The project must therefore make sense and meet certain criteria.

Introduced in France in the 1960s, the concept of CSR applies to the internal world of the company as well as outside its walls. Indeed, the internal objective remains the well-being of employees, for whom the relationship of trust and the possibility of dialogue are very important. Happy employees are a pleasant working environment and a performance factor.

Moreover, through the image it transmits to the outside world, the company must let people perceive that it is transparent, that it takes into consideration its collaborators or customers but also, especially nowadays, that it is committed to the respect of the environment.

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The numbers

Today, in terms of figures, CSR is significant. Indeed, recent studies or the implementation of the national perception barometer of the Mouvement des entreprises de France (MEDEF) prove the interest of a CSR strategy.

For employees:

→ 83% of employees from companies with a CSR function or department consider that their company has a positive impact on society


→ compared to 59% of employees working in companies that do not have one.

→ Getting involved in the environmental cause is a winning bet in terms of employer brand since 78% of employees would choose (with equivalent offers) to go to work for an organization truly committed to the ecological transition.

→ 88% of employees believe that the ecological transition is an important issue in their company, and 36% think it is a priority

→ 83% of employees say they would enjoy working for their company if it deploys a CSR strategy


→ compared to only 64% in companies that do not have one.

→ According to a study by France Stratégie, integrating ethics into one's activity increases performance by 13% on average.

For employees or clients:

→ 56% of French people think that companies should communicate their commitment right to the point of sale

→ 65% of French people choose to buy (or boycott) a brand based on its stance

Implementing a CSR policy rhymes for many with the word expenses. Indeed, the first thing to consider when launching a CSR policy is to think about a budget dedicated to CSR actions. Without any budget, the CSR action plan cannot be able to implement any CSR action. However, this does not necessarily represent a large sum of money, it is possible to start its progress with inexpensive actions. Thus, a budget, even a small one, can be sufficient to initiate a CSR approach. The essential costs are represented by the creation of a dedicated position (or by the hiring of a consulting firm to deal with certain issues).

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Les aides

Today, in France, which is the country where committed companies are among the most successful in the world, large companies that can afford to allocate a large budget to their CSR approach stand out and shine. A company that lacks resources but wishes to initiate a CSR approach can then resort to various interesting aids: according to https://lostintransition.fr/rse-subventions-2021/ (N.B.: some local aid is also available, the aid listed here is at the national level).

  • Aid for investments in decarbonization of industrial production tools](https://les-aides.fr/aide/ap9kC3dGxfTUBGdFT0zR4vJw_2Ixw3vUL0rHCCzX/asp/aide-aux-investissements-de-decarbonation-des-outils-de-production-industrielle.html) (State subsidy, open until December 31, 2022)
  • Aid for investments to decarbonize industrial activity (investment subsidy from Ademe)
  • Tax credit for the energy renovation of VSEs and SMEs](https://les-aides.fr/aide/ap5qAHpGxfTUBGdFT0zR4vJw_2Ixw3vUL0rHCCzX/ddfip/credit-d-impot-pour-la-renovation-energetique-des-locaux-des-tpe-et-pme.html) (amount of 30% of eligible expenses, up to €25,000 per company)
  • Eco-Energy Loan (PEE) via Bpifrance, a device that can go up to €500,000, within the limit of the company's equity or quasi-equity capital.
  • Ademe and the Ministry of Ecological Transition have launched the "Tremplin pour la transition écologique des PME" scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises. The spectrum is deliberately broad: the scheme aims to finance various actions through a grant, whether investments or studies consistent with the ecological transition (from €5000 to €200,000).
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The tools

In order to meet its CSR objectives, a company has many tools at its disposal, which are currently being developed, in particular to quantify their performance and their actions in their sustainable development approach. Among these tools, we find

  • LCA (Life Cycle Assessment). LCA is used to quantify greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts resulting from the company's activities.
  • The carbon footprint
  • The CSR report

Other tools are also progressing to better take into account the expectations of all stakeholders involved in a project, but also to better communicate in a more responsible manner. The extra-financial performance declaration (EPR) is a document that allows companies to communicate on their actions regarding the social, environmental and societal issues of their activities.

Finally, an important step in the communication of companies is to obtain a CSR label. Indeed, this highlights and affirms the veracity of the organizations' commitment while highlighting the actions implemented.

In this way, a CSR label is an entity that guarantees the commitment of an organization or other in its CSR approach.

Among the most famous CSR labels :

  • the LUCIE 26000 label
  • the Engagé RSE label from Afnor
  • the Fair For life label from Ecocert