France: New BDESE Environmental Information
Author: Florence Bacquet
The BDESE is a database containing economic, social and environmental information which the employer shares with elected representatives. The underlying idea is that employee representatives must have access to relevant data with respect to the matters they are informed about and consulted regarding.
A law passed in August 2021, known as the “Climate Law”, has bestowed general powers upon the employee representative elected body known as the social and economic committee (CSE) with regards to environmental matters. The committee must now be informed of the environmental impact of the company’s operations and the BDESE data must be updated with new information to take these broader powers into account.
A BDESE is either negotiated (in which case the environmental impact of a company’s operations is a compulsory negotiation topic) or implemented by default where no agreement was reached (in which case the topic was added as a new database theme). After eight months of waiting and anticipating, a decree of April the 26th 2022 has detailed the information that companies must include in the database.
Companies that are not obligated to publish an extra-financial performance declaration (“DPEF”) only have minimal information to add to the BDESE, i.e.:
- General policy information, relating to how the company has organised itself to take environmental questions into account and, where applicable, certification and evaluation steps that are taken,
- Circular economy information, which includes information relating to the prevention and management of waste, the sustainable use of resources,
- Climate change information, which will require, inter alia, identification of greenhouse gas emission posts and, where applicable, an assessment of greenhouse gas emissions.
Where companies that must publish an extra-financial performance declaration are concerned (usually large companies generating a high profit and employing many workers), the BDESE database will have to incorporate the environmental information contained in the extra-financial performance declaration, i.e.:
- how the company has organised itself to take environmental questions into account as well as, where applicable, certification and evaluation steps that are taken,
- the means that are dedicated to preventing environmental risks and pollution,
- how much money has been set aside and what guarantees exist.
The BDESE will also have to contain information regarding:
- Circular economy (the prevention of and management of waste, the sustainable use of resources),
- Climate change,
- Measures taken to preserve or restore the protection of biodiversity.
This information regarding the new contents of the BDESE database was highly awaited by employers and employee representatives alike.