France implements first sector-wide agreement on ecological transition in the pharmaceutical industry

On October 17, 2023, the French pharmaceutical industry signed its first sector-wide agreement on ecological transition and sustainable mobility. The agreement, signed between Leem and the CFDT, CFTC, FO and Unsa federations, requires companies to carry out a carbon assessment of their activities by October 17, 2024, and to adopt two best practices from among those proposed, such as adjusting executive compensation, collective catering, responsible transport and purchasing.

The agreement highlights the importance of integrating ecological issues at every stage of the drug life cycle without compromising jobs or working conditions. In line with the French Climate and Resilience Act of August 22, 2021, which incorporated the ecological transition into negotiations on job and career path management (GEPP), the agreement goes further by requiring that all company negotiations now include the ecological dimension.

The social and economic committees (CSE) of companies with over 50 employees must be informed about the environmental impact of projects. As with the human impact study of projects, the environmental impact study is becoming essential. Acculturating and training the social partners on CSR/ESG issues will help ensure common understanding and effective collaboration.

Companies will have to include environmental criteria in their profit-sharing agreements and are encouraged to offer employee savings funds with the “socially responsible investment” (SRI) label.

Lastly, the agreement encourages the inclusion of environmental criteria in compensation policies, particularly for top executives, as the involvement of management (the tone at the top) is a key factor in effective environmental policy. Companies must also sensitize their employees to environmental issues, with initiatives such as eco-driving and everyday actions.
This agreement is a significant step towards a more responsible and sustainable pharmaceutical industry, integrating environmental concerns at the heart of its strategy.

Against this backdrop, the role of lawyers as expert advisors is essential in explaining the legal implications of the new regulations and enabling business leaders to build effective sustainable strategies, avoiding greenwashing and socialwashing, to reduce the litigation risk. As trusted advisors to business leaders, lawyers play a strategic role in managing these paradigm shifts within companies.


Caroline Ferté
unyer Working Group Health Care & Life Science

Caroline Ferté

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