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30 Nov 2016

European Coalition for Corporate Justice

Corporate duty of vigilance: another step forward towards the French law’s adoption

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On 29 November, French Members of the National Assembly (lower house of French Parliament) adopted in new reading the draft law on duty of vigilance for parent and subcontracting companies...[T]he bill still represents an important step forward in the fight against corporate impunity for human rights and environmental abuses...French MPs...have now reaffirmed the central objective of the bill – obliging large companies to carry out a vigilance plan to identify and prevent risks associated with their activities, throughout their supply chains.  This means liability would apply when companies default on their obligations, including the presence of faults in the plan and its implementation, or the absence of a plan...Another new element is that a company's stakeholders, like trade union representatives or civil society groups, could be involved in the development of the vigilance plan...[T]he bill still has its limitations. It only affects around 100 major business groups, it does not include a strong provision aimed at facilitating access to justice for victims...In spite of its shortcomings, the draft law nevertheless remains an undeniable first step forward...