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14 Mar 2016

Arnaud Poitevin, Université Sorbonne Paris Cité (France)

France: Bill on mandatory corporate human rights & environmental due diligence is jeopardised by lengthy legislative process, says academic

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"Mandatory human rights due diligence : Government 1, Devoir de vigilance 0", 12 mar 2016

The French Bill on mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence for companies, also known as Devoir de vigilanceis jeopardized, as the government abstained to trigger the fast adoption procedure in Parliament..

The landmark Bill, [is] the first initiative worldwide to establish transnational liability of companies for negative social and environmental impacts across the value chain…

The Bill is now back before the Assemblée for a likely positive vote next 24 March. The text must then be sent back to the Senate, which is not really expected to change his mind and the text may go back and forth in an endless ballet as it requires an identical adoption by both Houses…

The current play with the subtleties of the legislative process is killing the Devoir de vigilance softly. If the government is genuinely keen to make its stance concrete, two possibilities remain : it can request the agreement of the Presidents of both Houses immediately for a Joint Committee and not delay further this mandatory step or, in case the President of the Senate appears unwilling to give his agreement, table itself an identical Bill that will not require the green light of the President of the Senate.

Time is running short for the Bill, and too many steps of the legislative process remain uncertain. It is time for clear and concrete action to be taken. It is now or likely never…