France: Report examines whether Duty of Vigilance law incentivises companies to improve human rights reporting

As part of a two-phase study, Shift examined whether the French Duty of Vigilance Law had any influence on the maturity of the companies’ public disclosure, as measured against the expectations of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

Phase 1 looked at the human rights reporting of the 20 largest French companies from 2017 and early 2018, before companies were required to comply with the Duty of Vigilance Law. In the second phase, Shift examined their first vigilance plans and implementation reports from 2018 and 2019. Both reports are available below.

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Article
30 November 2019

Two Years In: Has the Duty of Vigilance Law in France led to more Meaningful Disclosure?

Author: Michelle Langlois, Shift

In Phase 1 of this study, Shift analyzed the human rights reporting of the 20 largest French companies from 2017 and early 2018, before companies were required to comply with the Duty of Vigilance Law. In this second phase, we examine their first vigilance plans and implementation reports from 2018 and 2019.

This two-part study aims to uncover whether the French Duty of Vigilance Law, which imposes mandatory human rights due diligence and reporting, would have any influence on the maturity of the companies’ public disclosure, as measured against the expectations of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Since the process of improving public reporting frequently motivates more attention by companies to their underlying performance, we also considered whether improvements in companies’ human rights policies, processes and practices might be inferred from any progress in their disclosure.

We hope the key findings from this study can guide companies towards better alignment with the intent of the Duty of Vigilance Law, and the UNGPs, as well as highlight opportunities for ensuring similar legislations fully achieve their intended impact.

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Article
8 October 2018

Human Rights Reporting in France: A Baseline for Assessing the Impact of the Duty of Vigilance Law

Author: Michelle Langlois, Shift Project, Ltd

"Human Rights Reporting in France: A Baseline for Assessing the Impact of the Duty of Vigilance Law", Sep 2018

In 2017, the entry into force in France of the Duty of Vigilance law marked an important opportunity to accelerate and expand implementation by companies of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights...

But how will we know what difference the law makes in practice? To help answer that question, Shift decided to analyze the human rights reporting of the 20 largest companies in France..This research project aims to determine whether and to what extent the Duty of Vigilance law incentivizes French companies to improve their human rights reporting.

The research project consists of two phases.

1. The first phase analyzes the maturity of pre plan de vigilance reporting by looking at information disclosed by the selected companies [...] before companies published their first duty of vigilance plans. This report presents the conclusions of the first phase and establishes a baseline against which we will evaluate improvement.

2. The second phase analyzes the maturity of post plan de vigilance reporting by reviewing the selected companies’ reporting... This phase will begin this fall...

The individual results of the maturity analysis of the 20 French companies are anonymized and trends are discussed at the group level. However, companies are identified by name when used as examples of good reporting. [refers to Airbus, Air Liquide, AXA, BNP Paribas, Danone, Engie, Essilor, Kering, L’Oréal, LVMH, Oran- ge, Pernod Ricard, Safran, Saint-Gobain, Sanofi, Schneider Electric, Société Générale, Total, Vinci and Vivendi]

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