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Commentary: Opportunities & potential pitfalls to the French duty of vigilance law

...There has been debate over whether the French law requires companies to conduct the same human rights due diligence as provided for under the Guiding Principles, or whether the law is asking for something different. Indeed, the law itself refers to reasonable vigilance (mesures des vigilance reasonable) rather than due diligence (procédure de diligence raisonnable). Nevertheless, the French law and the Guiding Principles resonate strongly together. It is thus highly likely that where the law is ambiguous, human rights due diligence under the Guiding Principles will be used or referenced in order to determine the law's intention. Indeed, using the Guiding Principles as the key framework for interpreting and implementing the French law will assist companies in developing highly flexible and effective solutions to minimise the risks of harming people throughout their business. Indeed, the French Government itself remarks that a number of French companies are already seeking to implement the Guiding Principles, and that the French law is aligned with these efforts...

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