The analysis firms’ environment evolution is essential to define firms’ strategy. Now one of these evolutions is precisely the rise of an ethical preoccupation of several actors. Firms are incited to get strategically involved in social and environmental issues which are part of sustainable development stakes. This evolution asks the question of firms’ responsibility on environmental and human capital issues. How firms make a commitment on social and environmental issues?
The study of the sample of CAC 40 companies (Paris stock index) allows to analyze firms’ practices. Firms lean on a large scope of tools to formalize their sustainable development strategies. These tools are a way to communicate on CSR inside and outside the firm.
On the empirical level this article rests on the construction of a tools typology that can be used by firms in order to show their commitments in CSR initiatives. This typology is elaborated from a systematic analysis of firms’ social and environmental reports and interviews of the people in charge of the sustainable development in firms. The sample is the one of CAC 40 companies (Paris stock index). This article also leans on the results of the database treatments of the extra-financial rating agency Vigeo. The interest of these data is to obtain an indicator of firms’ CSR behaviour.
This empirical methodology allows to analyse the various tools of formalization in interaction: codes of conduct, social and environmental reports, extra-financial rating, label, standards, international framework agreements and NGO agreements. We will show then the issues of the origin of tools and of the tools application control. The use of these social and environmental tools and the study of Vigeo scores seem to confirm heterogeneousness CSR firms’ practices. Moreover, we will have to explain the implication of states and international organizations in the structuralization of CSR international architecture and particularly their role in the tools control issue.
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