Employment: our guide to finding start-ups that are truly committed to social and environmental issues

Do you want to work in the heart of a young and committed company? You have several problems:

1. You don’t know how to find it

2. You are afraid of greenwashing

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


To identify you, demanding labels endorse the responsible approach of the company. We can cite the famous approval ESU (thousand companies), which, for example, limits dividends, imposes a salary scale and prevents the contribution of companies.

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

Associations / networks

Various networks can help you list “serious” businesses. Among them, 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.)

Along with France Digitale, an association of about 2,000 technology investors and entrepreneurs, two guides can help you: tech4value where 20 technology champions share their best practices to combine economic performance responsibly.

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

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

Price reductions

Every year since 2019, BFM Business in collaboration 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 in charge of selecting the winners.

Also take a look at the winners of ” social entrepreneur awarded annually since 2007 by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and a jury made up of CAC 40 leaders and social and solidarity economy (ESS) personalities. For the past fifteen years, entrepreneurs such as Lucie Basch (Too Good To Go), Théo Scubla (Each One), Thomas Matagne (Ecov) have been awarded.

Indexes / rankings

Also consider government indices, such as the very recent ones GreenTech20 born in 2021. This program supports 20 start-ups that offer cutting-edge innovation in the ecological transition, with the ability to deploy on a large scale. Each year, 20 new nuggets are selected.

In the same vein, but the projects are often very young, the program French technology trampoline supports entrepreneurs from rural and / or disadvantaged backgrounds. These often (but not only) offer social impact projects.

If youth doesn’t scare you, Positive Planet, the foundation of Jacques Attali, has since this year established the ranking of the 35 “positive” leaders under the age of 35. Almost all of them oversee structures that you could join with the certainty of having a positive impact on society.

Tips to Avoid Greenwashing

– Observing governance: is it shared? Does the company publish reports on its impact (positive and negative)? What is the structure of the start-up? Your tags?

– Look at the results. For example, in a reintegration company, observe the positive exit rates of the people accompanied, what has happened to the beneficiaries. In other words, painting yourself green is good, but you need concrete actions behind it.

– Beyond the discourse on gender balance, diversity and well-being at work, take a concrete look at the composition of the teams. Feel free to talk to employees.

– With regard to large companies, the group Per un despertar ecológico questioned several dozen of them about their activity and published the answers.

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