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An overview of the Grenelle environmental initiative

An overview of the Grenelle environmental initiative

Type of text : Opinion
Type of referral : Government referral
Working group : Temporary Committee

Rapporteur(s) :

CGT Trade Union Group
Date adopted : 15/02/2012 | Period : 2010-2015

The word «élan», or «impetus» is a word that often comes up when discussing the Grenelle environmental initiative. This process has improved the approach to the environment within the framework of a new governance system. «Community colleges», «employers», the «State», «environmental NGOs» and «employees» are the foundations for a «five party governance» system working alongside experts and non-environmental associations. This method has favoured dialogue and the understanding of the challenges and allowed a host of ideas to flourish.
The role occupied by the environment in society has also changed. The name given to the round tables of October 2007, giving shape to the commitments of the Grenelle initiative, are witness to this: fighting climate change, preserving and managing biodiversity and the natural environment, preserving health and the environment, establishing ecologically-friendly democracy. Two Act sprang directly from this - a programming law, called «Grenelle I», whose objectives established a reference framework, and the Act imposing a national environmental commitment, called «Grenelle II», whose 257 Articles required a year and a half of debate.
Since then, the dynamism of the Grenelle, a fragile collective process, has progressively stuttered. The complexity of the Grenelle II Act, its length and the varying importance of its provisions, have done nothing to make environmental law more legible and more accessible. The application of texts has encountered regional difficulties. Furthermore, recent developments have led to fears that key commitments will be called into question. The case of the social and environmental responsibility (SER) of companies, for which the implementing decree has not yet been published, is significant. In certain sectors, such as rail freight, there has been nothing less than an abandonment of the Grenelle commitment. Finally, other measures have suffered from the financial crisis, as a result of the budget cuts it has required.
The ESEC is calling for the revival of the process, preserving lessons learnt from the Grenelle and creating the conditions for a new economic model, focusing on sustainable development. This should reduce social inequalities and generate jobs, while respecting the environment and natural resources. The Council illustrates this choice with proposals to anticipate breaches, manage transitions and facilitate clear and effective choices.