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International standards and France’s involvement in their formulation

France has mobilised its entire diplomatic apparatus behind negotiations on the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). In recent years, this has particularly been the case for negotiations on the ISO 26000 (2010) standard, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (revised in 2011), International Finance Corporation Performance Standards (revised 2010), UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (2011) and the projects announced by the 3rd European Commission Communication on CSR (2011).

The themes to which France attaches particular importance are:

Respect for human rights

France plays an active part in discussions currently ongoing in UN bodies on implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights unanimously adopted by the Human Rights Council in June 2011. This is also a central theme of the 3rd European Commission Communication on CSR, to which France has submitted a series of detailed proposals.

Non-financial reporting

In 2008, during its Presidency of the European Union, France invited the European Commission to begin work on formulating a European policy in this area. France fully supports the resulting draft directive making non-financial reporting mandatory for all large companies in Europe.

France was one of the first to support the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) launched at the Evian G7 Summit in 2003, to which 34 countries and numerous oil and mining companies, including some of the world’s largest, have now signed up. France also supports the draft European directive that would require European extractive companies to disclose, country by country, any payments made to local governments.

In June 2012, together with Brazil, Denmark and South Africa, France launched the Group of Friends of Paragraph 47 of the Rio +20 outcome document on sustainable development, which seeks to promote greater transparency through corporate social and sustainability reporting. The Group enjoys the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

France is also making its voice heard on the GRI Governmental Advisory Group, the role of which is to facilitate dialogue with governments on action taken to promote transparency in corporate social and sustainability reporting.

Social dialogue as the basis for organising dialogue with a firm’s stakeholders

The first International Framework Agreement (IFA) on CSR implementation between a multinational organisation and its trade unions was negotiated in France in 1988, and has since been followed by almost a dozen others. The French firms that have signed up to and implemented an IFA are, in order of IFA seniority: Danone, Accor, Carrefour, Renault, EDF, Rhodia-Solvay, EADS, Lafarge, Arcelor, PSA and France Télécom. France advocates the further development of this form of contractually based CSR within the relevant international frameworks.

From a more general standpoint, the conception of CSR promoted by France at the international level is that of a management method that organises dialogue with the firm’s various stakeholders, making democracy an integral part of society.

Combating climate change and promoting biodiversity

France is a participant in all international and European work on organisational environmental footprint (OEF).

Updated on: 04.12.12

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