« We must take change by the hand or rest assuredly, change will take us by te throat. » Winston Churchill








« L’utopie est à l’horizon. Je fais deux pas en avant, elle s’éloigne de deux pas. Je fais dix pas de plus, elle s’éloigne de dix pas. Aussi loin que je puisse marcher, je ne l’atteindrai jamais. À quoi sert l’utopie ? À cela : elle sert à avancer » Eduardo Galeano


Au-delà de l’éveil des consciences, le développement durable appelle une révolution dans l’entreprise, pour repenser son modèle économique, ses activités et sa mission.


Parler pour éveiller les esprits sur le développement durable, inspirer les gens et les dirigeants, pour penser autrement l’entreprise et le monde. Partager notre conviction qu’il n’y a pas de modèle économique viable sur une planète et dans une société en faillite. Parler pour faire naître le désir d’objectifs radicaux plutôt qu’incrémentaux, de solutions innovantes qui transforment les difficultés en opportunités, de modèles économiques positifs qui changent le monde et la vie des gens


Ecouter tous ceux qui se sont donné pour rôle de transformer positivement la société, l’entreprise, les territoires. Les rencontrer, faire avancer la connaissance, faire progresser nos réflexions et nos clients à leur contact. Laisser de côté ce qui fait sensation pour s’intéresser aux solutions, et contribuer à l’émergence d’un monde plus créatif, humain et joyeux. ECRIRE AUSSI. Pour réfléchir, penser la suite, faire une pause. Ecrire pour toujours faire avancer la cause.


Nous sommes des utopistes, des militants mais aussi des praticiens et des experts de la transition vers le développement durable. Acupuncteurs du changement, nous concentrons nos efforts sur les points d’énergie les plus puissants pour faire avancer l’intégration du développement durable dans les stratégies : l’innovation et les marques positives, l’ancrage local et la dimension économique du développement durable. Mais aussi sur les secteurs-clefs par leur impact et leur influence : l’alimentation, la construction, le commerce, la mode, le tourisme...


Et parce que nous tenons à notre indépendance autant que nous croyons à l’interdépendance entre l’entreprise et ses environnements, parce que nous pensons que l’on peut mettre l’efficacité de l’entreprise privée au service de l’intérêt général, nous sommes aussi engagés avec passion dans le mouvement B Corp.


Celebrating 21 years Movie

CSR at Utopies

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR),
a reality at Utopies

Utopies makes a point of paying close attention to internal coherence by putting into practice the fundamental principals that we recommend to our clients. From office design to HR policy, as well as environmental policy, everything is put in place to make the office a veritable laboratory of our convictions. An internal barometer was even designed to evaluate staff satisfaction every year with regard to fifty items. Walk the talk!

Compensation and evolution

At Utopies, the level of compensation is determined by the qualifications and responsibilities of the job, and not only by the diploma or past remuneration.

Personal commitment is a strong motivation for those who join Utopies, but we also want to offer our team career opportunities and competitive salaries. A standard compensation benchmark based on jobs in sustainable development has been established: the last edition, completed in 2012, based on a study of the HR firm Orientation Durable, underscores the success of efforts conducted these last few years to align salaries with the marketplace, including those of the most seasoned professionals.

Each consultant has two career development reviews per year, and the system was enhanced in 2013 by a 360º evaluation being tested within the staff.
Grades Gross annual fixed salary Sector Benchmark ( Sustainable Orientation )
Direction 80 - 115 000 € 60 - 120 000 €
Management 60 - 73 000 € 45 - 70 000 €
Seniors 47 - 51 000 € 24 - 55 000 €
Consultants 30 - 40 000 € 20 - 40 000 €

Our eco-friendly office

Our story

Utopies becomes with Graines de Changement (Seeds of Change) the first certified B Corporation in France
20 employees and 20 years of existence!
Utopies in the 8th position worldwide (and 1st in France) of “leading reporting partners” on the specialized site Corporate Register.
Entry of Elisabeth Laville to the Board of Directors of Rabot Dutilleul.
Publication of the study “Sustainability Reporting at Crossroads” on developing reporting trends.
Utopies sits atop the first French classification of best sustainable development agencies (Décideurs Magazine).
Official presentation to Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Minister of Ecology, of the report “For a Sustainable Consumption,” led by Elisabeth Laville.
Elisabeth Laville is among the “50 women who are changing the world,” according to Figaro Madame.
Publication of the study about trends concerning “The Food Service Industry and Sustainable Development” and creation of the agro-food sector..
New eco-offices on the rue Titon.
Elisabeth Laville joins the Board of Directors of Nature & découvertes, receives the Veuve Clicquot Prize for Businesswomen and is made a knight of the Légion d'Honneur.
15 employees and sales exceeding 2M€.
Launching of the site My Shopping List for the Planet by Graines de Changements.
Publication of the report “Critical Friends,” on stakeholder's panels, with AccountAbility.
Elisabeth Laville is one of ELLE magazine's “40 women who want things to change.”
Publication of « Let's Buy Responsibly » co-authored by Elisabeth Laville.
Publication of the report “Sustainable Construction, a Business Strategy”
Publication of the report “Talk the Walk” on green marketing, in partnership with the UNEP and the Global Compact.
Launch of the initiative “Enterprise and Sustainable Construction” and launch of the site Constructiondurable.com
10 employees and sales exceeding 1M€.
Creation of Graines de Changement, the top information agency for the general public on “entrepreneurs of the best.
First CSR reports on CAC40 business for Lafarge and Carrefour.
Publication of “Green Enterprise” by Elisabeth Laville who is among Newbiz magazine's “100 (real) movers and shakers of France.”
First working group of the ORSE (study centre for corporate social responsibility) on non-financial ratings.
First stakeholder's standing advisory panel for the management of Lafarge.
Launch of Utopies News Service, the first web newsletter in French on CSR..
Initial Presentation by Elisabeth Laville to HEC (distinguished business management school in Paris) on CSR.
Collaboration with the management of the Lafarge and Carrefour companies.
2nd edition of Better World Business Forum.
First “stakeholder session” in France, for the SITA group..
Utopies helps Danone to define its CSR strategy.
Support for the launch of Max Havelaar in widespread distribution.
Utopies.com, leading web site in French dedicated to CSR..
Launch with Carrefour of the first range of organic products in widespread distribution.
Organization of the Better World Business Forum, the first international conference dedicated to pioneering entrepreneurs of CSR.
Production of the first sustainable development report for a French enterprise: Nature & découvertes.
Utopies becomes a reality!


You have questions ?

We may have already responded ...

In concrete terms, what does Utopies do?

Our job is to help businesses (principally, even if we work with public players on an occasional basis) to integrate sustainable development into their strategy at all levels, from their mission statement to their range of products and services, including their internal operations and daily practices.


When we began in 1993, companies knew little about social and environmental questions related to sustainable development, and did not always understand well how it concerned their business activity. That is why we quickly developed activities (newsletter, conferences, consciousness-raising seminars, working groups, etc.) aimed at raising awareness and spreading inspirational good practices on the subject or in the given sector, etc. Throughout the development of our consulting activities, and to enhance them, we have continued to conduct complementary think-tank activities – because sustainable development issues are complex and are constantly evolving, which sustains the need for research and pedagogy. Through our publications, our working groups and our thematic conferences, we place particular emphasis on being at the forefront on emerging issues in matters of business strategy and sustainable development (go to the Think tank page).


Our consulting activities are varied: we take part in the company’s strategy, innovation processes, marketing, sustainable supply, reporting and measurement of non-financial performance, or even in the modes of dialogue with stakeholders – and in different sectors of activity (go to Consultancy page). Often, in order to redefine its strategy by integrating sustainability into it, the enterprise is more at ease if it does so with external support that is more capable of identifying blind spots, thinking “out-of-the-box”, being more capable of asking the difficult questions and of beginning the dialogue with certain external audiences to whom the enterprise is not used to talking. If we are to believe our clients, we also play a little bit the roles of “gadfly“ or “free and different” thinkers.


Some examples of what this may mean in concrete terms: it could be a matter of working on an innovative strategy and a cosmetic company’s products in order to reduce the environmental and health impacts, or also helping a business become aware of the issues related to the company’s disabled employees (it could be a matter of integrating the disabled, or of developing a proposal addressing the disabled), or even to help a real estate player to develop an ecological site from construction to operation, whether it is a shopping mall, a tourist site or an office building.


In concrete terms, the support that we offer is organized by Expertises (strategy, innovation, reporting, economic footprint, etc.), and can be deployed in numerous Sectors of activity (agro-business, construction, cosmetics and health, business and distribution, tourism, etc.). You can consult a more detailed description of our offerings in our commercial brochures, available in PDF on the Consultancy page.

What does our consulting activity consist of?

Our consulting activity includes numerous project categories: definition of sustainable development processes, design of new business models, drafting of non-financial reports, execution of materiality matrixes, cartography of trends and emerging issues, organisation of stakeholder panels, organisation of sustainable innovation workshops, etc.


In concrete terms, the support that we offer is organised in Expertises  (strategy, innovation, reporting, economic footprint, etc.), and can be deployed in numerous Sectors of activity (agro-business, construction, cosmetics and health, commerce and distribution, tourism, etc.). You can consult a more detailed description of our services in our commercial brochures, available in PDF on the Consultancy page.

What makes you different from your competitors?

Several points make us different from our competitors, who have a wide range of profiles (large strategy consultancy firms, thematic firms specialized for example in purchasing or HR, small independent firms, freelance consultants, etc.):

  • Our commitment to move the cause of sustainable development forward. As at our beginning in 1993, our primary motivation is to contribute to initiating ambitious changes on the issues that we are passionate about, through our missions of consulting and our research and publication activities.
  •  Recommendations connecting out strategic vision, technical expertise and pragmatism. Our missions are always customised around the specifics of the enterprise and its request, rather than the reutilization of tools or methodologies that we have already developed.
  • Our anteriority and experience. Utopies leans on its in-depth knowledge of the issues, best practices, pioneering companies and key players. Our experience gives us the necessary perspective to anticipate the pitfalls, internal resistance to change and the reactions of stakeholders.
  • Our network composed of the best French and international experts. Established over our 20 years of business, and mobilized for most of our missions, this network guarantees the relevance and credibility of strategies developed for our clients. In this network, one finds players from NGOs and civil society, public authorities (e.g., cities, governments, UN), pioneering firms, visionary entrepreneurs, leading experts on social and environmental issues (e.g., environmental health, sociology of behaviour…).
  • A voice that counts. On certain subjects such as innovation, dialogue with stakeholders, responsible consumption, or socio-economic footprint, Utopies is a key player in France and around the world.
  • Our willingness to apply what we recommend to our clients in our own practices. Utopies was, notably, the first firm to publish its own report on sustainable development, beginning in 2002, and we were also the first French company to obtain B CORPORATION certification in January 2014.
  • Our financial independence.  Utopies remains an independent firm: we are not affiliated with any group and the founder holds our capital stock in majority. That is what also guarantees the independence of our perspectives and the freedom of our recommendations.
Who are our clients ?

Utopies has worked since its beginning for more than a hundred different clients. The recent evolution of issues related to sustainable development and the heightened awareness at the highest level have modified the nature of our missions and the list of our clients. Pioneering small and medium sized enterprises that constituted the “traditional” clients of Utopies (Nature & découvertes, Ben and Jerry’s, etc.), have progressively given way to large international firms (Danone, Lafarge, Michelin, L’Oréal, Sodexo, etc.), whose changing requirements call upon new skills and a revitalized offer of services.


We also work, less frequently, for public players (e.g., Ministry of Sustainable Development, City of Paris, etc.) and for NGOs specialized in fair trade, solidarity or environment (e.g., CARE, WWF, Max Havelaar, etc.).


Finally, our interlocutors within companies are varied. Depending on the project, it could be top management as part of strategic support missions, the management of sustainable development or CSR on a variety of projects, the management of innovation, marketing or R&D on initiatives related to marketing and innovation, the management of communications for support on non-financial reporting or on dialogue with stakeholders, etc.


Who are the “Utopians”?

Utopies benefits from the professional diversity of its staff. Our consultants have varied backgrounds: engineering schools, business schools, political and social sciences, natural sciences, urban studies and many other fields.


At Utopies, one may as easily find a specialist in econometrics as an agro-food engineer or a former entrepreneur. Some consultants have a background in business (in functions as varied as those of CFO of an American firm or environmental manager for a large French hotel group), others have worked for NGOs (Greenpeace) or international institutions like the UN’s World Food Programme, and the majority have had international experiences, contributing to the open-mindedness of Utopies, which is one of our fundamental values.


Beyond their specific skills and their background, all “utopians” passed a demanding and selective hiring process: they had to demonstrate their abilities and their adaptation to the consulting world, but also their goodwill, their commitment and their motivation to sustainable development issues. Associate experts and high-skilled partners enrich this team: experienced professionals, recognized experts on specific topics, committed and creative, they are involved in our research and our missions. Discover them on the Team page.

In what ways are you a think tank?

Since its creation, Utopies has contributed to the promotion of the sustainable development agenda in France and abroad. As a result, we give great importance to our think tank activities: the publication of studies and position papers, the organisation of working groups and conferences, and the contribution to public policy on the subject. You may consult the details of these activities on the Think Tank page of our site.


This positioning nurtures our consulting activities and increases its value added: it allows us to be on the lookout for emerging trends, to constantly update our skills and our tools, and to offer new ideas to our clients.


Sustainable construction constitutes one interesting example of the synergy that may exist between consultancy and think tank. In 2003, Utopies organized a working group on sustainable construction (see here), which brought numerous players to the table, all up and down the supply chain (Bouygues Construction, Accor, Pierre & Vacances, BNP Paribas, Gaz de France…). At the time, most of these firms were not familiar with the subject, and the working group (which was renewed for several years) made it possible for them to gain skills concerning an issue that they didn’t know about. Today, sustainable construction is a central element of most corporate strategies of these firms, and the contribution of the working group, as well as numerous meetings between members and with external stakeholders, have helped them to structure their approach.

What are the emblematic missions or which you are the most proud?

Our mission being to accelerate change and integration of sustainable development into company strategies, we are generally satisfied with our missions when…


  1. They allow us to implement an innovative concept with a client, and which then becomes the point of reference (that’s the case, for example, with socio-economic footprint, or with the IACA life cycle analysis tool developed for Nature & découvertes, or even with the framework on EURHO-GR social housing, developed for Delphis, and which has since become the basis for the only existing sustainable development certification in the sector – AFAQ 26 000 (on social housing, since deployed in several countries).
  2. They have allowed the client to implement a rapid and visible change in strategy and offer, as was the case at Domaine des Fontaines in Chantilly (the first centre for business tourism to obtain the European eco-label) or with the fast and healthy food firm Cojean (introduction of MSC-labelled fishes, recyclable plastic containers, implementation of a collection and daily redistribution system of the surplus of 20 Parisian restaurants, etc.).
  3. They are long-lasting and have made it possible to implement visible and sustainable changes in a company’s practices and culture, as for Expanscience Laboratories (strategic support over the long term, for a dozen years) or for the Lafarge group (support for the stakeholders panel that has been meeting with the executive committee of the group for ten years, in order to stimulate a sustainable development strategy).
  4. They caused a major market player, which had the ability itself to drag along the market, to change – as was the case with the Botanic label (termination of phytosanitary products) or for the Sodexo group (design of the “Better Tomorrow Plan”, the strategic development plan of the group’s offer).
Why the name Utopies?

When Elisabeth Laville and her associate undertook to create Utopies at the beginning of the 1990’s, a great number of players in the economic world welcomed the project with positive sentiments… but also with barely disguised doubts about the unrealistic nature or its utopian quality. It was in leaving one of these meetings the Elisabeth decided to call the project “Utopies,” as an allusion to this scepticism and as a way to assume the mantle of its unrealistic character. And of course, Utopies is a lot more inspirational than Laville Consulting or ELCG Consulting…isn’t it?!


Beyond these anecdotes, Utopies is also the choice of a name of commitment,  reflecting our mission: to change business in order to change the world! After all, pioneering firms that inspired our beginnings (Nature & découvertes, The Body Shop, Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Migros, etc.) all wanted to use the power of enterprise to transform society and the world… The utopic vision is thus what pulls them onward, it is what gives them the energy and the will to progress, even if perfection is not naturally part of this world, remaining always just out of reach for those seeking it. There are no “good” or “bad” businesses, even if by the evidence some are more advanced than others: it is a process of continuous improvement…. As the founder of Interface, Ray Anderson, said, “Sustainable development is a mountain to climb, a summit to reach, and we have only taken the first steps.” This being said, many consider Interface as a very advanced company!


And where it really matters, we chose to use the plural word “Utopies” because we believe that there is not a single utopia that is imposed upon all of us, nor a single way to get there. The paths are inherently many, they are dependent upon the culture of the company, its values, its activities, etc. It is up to each enterprise to find “its” path…

What makes Utopies a responsible business?

We are committed, since our beginning, to incorporate ourselves what we recommend to our clients. This exemplary nature is not total, far from it, obviously – but this commitment nonetheless made us worthy of being the first certified B CORPORATION in France. Here is an extract of what we are implementing:


  •  Our human resources policy favours the well being of “utopians”. To this end, we have implemented various benefits: a generous health insurance policy, an annual satisfaction survey, a 360º evaluation system (including the management), weekly yoga classes, shiatsu massages, a kind of system of “sport or culture subsidies” covering part of the fees or subscription costs to a sports club or a theatre of the employee’s choice, a day of volunteering organized for the whole team, a policy encouraging sponsorship of skills, a Nintendo Wii and making not only tea/coffee available, but also organic fruits and vegetables (also offered in subscription “baskets” to the team).


  • Our offices are eco-designed: the materials used and the furniture chosen are ecological, the equipment is low-water- and low-energy-consuming. A green wall was installed and a feng-shui consultant participated in the layout of the space.


  • To this add a policy of responsible buying. We favour green electricity (purchased from Enercoop), green cleaning products and recycled paper, and we have access to firms providing jobs for the unemployed (in particular for the maintenance of our offices and recycling of our used paper).


  • Our transportation policy also respects specific guidelines: a hybrid vehicle is made available to the staff and Utopies applies a policy of low CO2 emissions travel: we favour the train over plane and public transportation over taxi. A bicycle courier company does our shopping. And all of our CO2 emissions are offset each year to finance development projects in the Southern Hemisphere with CO2 Solidaire.
« If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. » Henry Ford