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France adopts corporate duty of vigilance law

The French Parliament adopted a much-awaited law establishing a duty of vigilance obligation for parent and subcontracting companies.  The law marks a historic step towards improving corporate respect for human rights and the environment.  ECCJ joins the French corporate accountability platform, Forum Citoyen pour la RSE in calling on European countries, the EU institutions, and the international community to develop similar legislation.  The law, which only applies to the largest French companies, will make the latter assess and address the adverse impacts of their activities on people and the planet, by having them publish annual, public vigilance plans.  This includes impacts linked to their own activities, those of companies under their control, and those of suppliers and subcontractors, with whom they have an established commercial relationship.  When companies default on these obligations, the law empowers victims and other concerned parties to bring the issue before a judge.  Judges can apply fines of up to € 10 million when companies fail to publish plans.  Fines can go up to € 30 million if this failure resulted in damages that would otherwise have been preventable.  Despite being a major achievement, French civil society organisations argue the law’s text could have been more ambitious...

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