This country profile features selected environmental indicators from the OECD Core Set, building on harmonised datasets available on OECD.stat. The indicators reflect major environmental issues, including climate, air quality, freshwater resources, waste and the circular economy and biodiversity. Differences with national data sources can occur due to delays in data treatment and publication, or due to different national definitions and measurement methods. The OECD is working with countries and other international organisations to further improve the indicators and the underlying data.

France is the largest country by area in the European Union and among the largest economies in the OECD. Its people enjoy relatively high levels of education and quality of life. France territory within Europe, referred to as “metropolitan France”, covers 550 000 km2. It has overseas “départements” (DOM) and other overseas territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans as well as in the Antarctic. Metropolitan France has long coasts of 5°500 km. Its overall maritime domain covers 11 million km2, most of it associated with overseas territories.

Thanks to its geographic position within Europe and its overseas possessions, France embraces a great diversity of land-based and marine ecosystems. Metropolitan France’s subsoil resources include a wealth of building materials, such as limestone, aggregates and gypsum. It also has an abundance of industrial minerals, including kaolin, potassium compounds and silica. However, it has few energy resources: the country rely heavily on nuclear energy. France has the highest share nuclear energy in OECD countries. France’s overseas territories are endowed with very substantial natural resources (marine, mineral and botanic resources, renewable energy sources and high biodiversity). Metropolitan France’s water resources are unevenly distributed both geographically and seasonally, which can result in high water or floods, as well as droughts.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the French economy had a high productivity, ensuring good standards of living. The economy is one of the most highly tertiarised in the OECD, despite its relatively diversified industrial structure. Some 80% of the population is concentrated in major urban areas, which occupy a third of the territory.

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD 2023

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at