Tuesday 31/03/2020

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Sustainability ranking: France’s efforts are not enough to safeguard a leading position

Responsible Investment Strategist

In Degroof Petercam‘s latest half-yearly sustainability ranking for the 34 OECD member states, France has obtained a score which is lower than the average of its OECD peers. In this third and final blog post about this ranking, we’ll look at why exactly this wasn’t really a surprise.

For a growing number of indicators, France has obtained a score which is lower than the average of its OECD peers. Despite the improvements, in particular in the field of renewable energy, unemployment, the old-age dependency ratio and the number of post-secondary graduates, France loses four points and is relegated by six places in the ranking in just one year. This is not really a surprise: France has seen its scoring deteriorate progressively in the past few semesters, and this applies to all five sustainability pillars, namely transparency and democratic values, environment, education, population, healthcare and wealth distribution and economy

France is facing major challenges, particularly with regard to immigration, with the country having nearly six pensioners for just ten active people. Although unemployment is falling, youth as well as long-term unemployment have become a social and economic reality.
Finally, while the global climate summit COP21 will take place in Paris, France is not doing particularly well versus its neighbors in terms of various environmental indicators. Although the utilization rate of renewable energy is on the rise, it remains below 5% of the energy produced. Air quality, measured by particulate matter and deaths attributable to outdoor pollution, is below the average.

The sustainability ranking is based on a best-in-class approach, so in other words it assesses the score of a country versus its peers while looking at the same pillar. Hence, France’s degradation should be considered in relative terms,; it is explained by some degradations but also by some improvements, which remain insufficient compared to those recorded by other countries.

Download the PDF for Sustainability Ranking – Developed Countries in PDF format.