Companies subject to the duty of vigilance under the radar of NGOs

Paris, 27 June 2019 – Two years after the adoption of the French law on the duty of vigilance, Sherpa and the CCFD-Terre Solidaire regret that the French government did not set up any mechanism to monitor the law. Today, we launch the vigilance-plan.org website to identify the companies subject to the law and verify whether they published their vigilance plan. To date, a quarter of the companies identified have not published anything.

In March 2017, France adopted the pioneering law on the duty of vigilance. With this law, large French companies are now required to identify and prevent the risks that their activities cause to human rights and fundamental freedoms, the health and safety of individuals and to the environment.

The government has not yet set up any mechanism to make sure that these companies comply with their legal obligations.

Alongside the cooperative Datactivist, a data analysis specialist, Sherpa and CCFD-Terre Solidaire drew up an initial list based on public and financial databases (Infogreffe, Sirene, Orbis).

Some foreign companies or subsidiaries also subject to the law

The list of identified companies is now displayed on the vigilance-plan.org webiste. We drew up a first list of 237 companies that appear to be subject to the law. To our knowledge, 59 companies did not publish any plan and of some are subsidiaries of foreign compagny or may have subsidiaries abroad.

The purpose of this website is twofold: to become a tool enabling all stakeholders, including trade unions and NGOs, to have access to the vigilance plans published; and to enable civil society actors to keep the list up to date in order to ensure that large French companies comply with their duty of vigilance. This website was developed with the support of the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre which publishes today Sherpa’s article about lessons France’s Duty of Vigilance law have for other national initiatives.

The Duty of Vigilance should now be a European and global objective

The French law on the duty of vigilance is the outcome of a long struggle that civil society led to hold companies legally accountable. This subject is now European and global: the European Union is studying the possibility of adopting a European directive on Human Rights Due Diligence and negotiations are under way at the United Nations to establish an international treaty on transnational corporations and human rights. We ask the French government to step up in these initiatives.

 

Press Contact :

Sherpa : Lucie Chatelain – lucie.chatelain@asso-sherpa.org – 06.47.11.65.06

CCFD-Terre Solidaire : Louis Moreau – l.moreau@ccfd-terresolidaire.org – 06.66.12.33.02