Employment: Our guide to finding start-ups that are truly committed to social issues and the environment

Do you want to work in the heart of a young company that is involved? You have several problems:

1. You don’t know how to find her

2. You are afraid of greenwashing

Different devices will help you see more clearly in the galaxy of so-called “impact” start-ups.


To identify you, demanding labels testify to the company’s responsible approach. We can mention the famous endorsement ESU (thousand companies), which, for example, limits dividends, imposes a salary scale and prevents companies from being listed on the stock exchange.

There is also the labelB-Corp (145 companies in France), which certifies that private companies integrate social, societal and environmental objectives into their mission, their economic model, their personnel and their products.


Several networks can help you list “serious” companies. Among them are the Impact France movement, a kind of green and social “Medef” for committed entrepreneurs and investors. In total, it lists 2,000 impact start-ups (social, environmental, etc.)

On the side of France Digitale, an association that brings together some 2,000 investors and tech entrepreneurs, two guides can help you: the tech4value where 20 tech champions share their best practices for combining economic performance with responsibility.

Then the ” impact mapping of the association, a kind of map that brings together start-ups that put impact at the heart of their activities through the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the UN. The last edition brought together more than 800 young shoots (not easy to find your way around, but it has the merit of being quite complete).

With regard to inclusion and diversity, the Diversidays association publishes a ‘guide’ of diversity ‘talents’ who are committed to a more just society. Among them employees, but also makers of companies or associations that you can approach.

Price reductions

Since 2019, BFM Business, in collaboration with France Digitale, has been organizing the “ tech for good prices », 7 awards awarded to virtuous start-ups in 7 verticals: citizen action, circular economy, education and training, resource management, mobility and health. A jury consisting of entrepreneurs, journalists and institutions is responsible for selecting the winners.

Also check out the winners of ” social entrepreneur Awarded every year since 2007 by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and a jury composed of CAC 40 leaders and personalities from the Social and Solidarity Economy (ESS). Over the past fifteen years, entrepreneurs such as Lucie Basch (Too Good To Go), Théo Scubla (Each One), Thomas Matagne (Ecov) have been rewarded.


Also consider government indices, such as the very recent GreenTech20 born in 2021. This program supports 20 start-ups that provide breakthrough innovation in the ecological transition, with the opportunity to deploy at scale. Every year 20 new nuggets are selected.

In the same vein, but the projects are often very young, the program French Tech Springboard supports entrepreneurs with a rural and/or underprivileged background. These often (but not only) offer projects with social impact.

If youth don’t frighten you, positive planet, the foundation of Jacques Attali, has been establishing the ranking of the 35 “positive” leaders under the age of 35 since this year. Almost all of them oversee structures that you can join with the certainty that you have a positive impact on society.

Tips to prevent greenwashing

– Observe governance: is it shared? Does the company publish impact reports (positive and negative)? What is the structure of the start-up? Are labels?

– View the results. In a reintegration company, for example, look at the positive outflow percentages of the supervised people, what has become of the beneficiaries. In other words, painting yourself green is good, but you must have concrete actions behind it.

– In addition to the discourse on gender balance, diversity and well-being at work, also take a concrete look at the composition of teams. Don’t be afraid to talk to employees.

– As for large companies, the collective For an ecological awakening questioned several dozen of them about their activity and published the answers.

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