Employment: our guide to finding startups truly committed to social and environmental issues

Want to work at the heart of a young and committed company? You have several problems:

1. You don’t know how to find her

2. Are you afraid of greenwashing?

Various devices will help you see more clearly the galaxy of so-called “impact” startups.


To identify it, demanding labels attest to the company’s responsible posture. We can cite the famous approval UEE (1,000 companies), which, for example, limits dividends, imposes a salary scale and prevents companies from being listed.

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 workforce and their products.


Various networks can help you list “serious” companies. Among them, the Impact of France’s move, a kind of green and social “Medef” for committed entrepreneurs and investors. In total, it lists 2,000 impact startups (social, environmental, etc.)

On the side of France Digitale, an association that brings together around 2,000 investors and technology entrepreneurs, two guides can help you: the tech4 value where 20 technology 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 startups that put impact at the center of their activity through the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the UN. The last edition brought together more than 800 young shoots (it’s not easy to get your bearings, but it has the merit of being quite exhaustive).

In terms of inclusion and diversity, the Diversidays association publishes a “directory” of diversity “talents” who work for a fairer society. Among them, employees, but also creators of companies or associations that you can approach.

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Every year since 2019, BFM Business in partnership with France Digitale organizes the “ technology for good prizes », 7 awards given to virtuous start-ups in 7 verticals: citizen action, circular economy, education and training, resource management, mobility and health. A jury made up of entrepreneurs, journalists and institutions is responsible for selecting the winners.

See also the winners of the ” social entrepreneur awarded annually since 2007 by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and a jury composed of CAC 40 leaders and personalities of the social and solidarity economy (ESS). In the last fifteen years, entrepreneurs like Lucie Basch (Too Good To Go), Théo Scubla (Each One), Thomas Matagne (Ecov) have been awarded.


Also consider government indices, such as the very recent GreenTech20 born in 2021. This program supports 20 start-ups that deliver breakthrough innovation in the green transition, with large-scale deployment capabilities. Each year, 20 new nuggets are selected.

Along the same lines, but the projects are often very young, the program French Technological Trampoline supports entrepreneurs from rural and/or disadvantaged areas. These often (but not only) offer social impact projects.

If youth doesn’t scare you, positive planet, foundation of Jacques Attali, this year establishes the ranking of the 35 “positive” leaders under the age of 35. Almost all of them oversee structures that you can adhere to that are guaranteed to have a positive impact on society.

Tips to avoid greenwashing

– Look at governance: is it shared? Does the company publish reports on its impact (both positive and negative)? What is the startup structure? Your labels?

– Watch the results. For example, in a reintegration company, look at the positive exit rates of people followed up, what happened to beneficiaries. In other words, painting yourself green is fine, but you need concrete actions behind it.

– In addition to the discourse on gender balance, diversity and well-being at work, concretely analyze the composition of the teams. Do not hesitate to discuss with employees.

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

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