The law on the duty of vigilance

A pioneering law

The French Law on the duty of digilance is unprecedented. It requires French companies to establish, publish and effectively implement adapted measures to identify risks and prevent severe abuses to human rights, fundamental freedoms, the health and safety of individuals, and the environment.

It has been adopted in March 2017, at the end of a legislative saga and after some of its provisions were set aside by the French Conseil Constitutionnel.

The companies covered

To fall within the scope of the law, companies must satisfy two criteria:

  • The first one relates to their corporate form
  • The second one relates to their number of employees, including within their direct and indirect subsidiaries (above 5,000 employees in France, or 10,000 worldwide).

Vigilance plans

Vigilance plans must include reasonable measures adequate to identify risks and to prevent severe impacts on human rights and fundamental freedoms, on the health and safety of individuals and on the environment, resulting from the activities of the company, its subsidiaries, suppliers and subcontractors.

These measures must be formalised in a vigilance plan, i.e. a material support for vigilance, made public and included in the annual report of a company. Vigilance measures include, but are not limited to:

  • A risk mapping
  • A value chain assessment processes
  • Risk mitigation and preventive actions,
  • Alert mechanisms
  • Monitoring systems on the effective and efficient implementation of measures


Frequently Asked Questions

English French Spanish

Vigilance Plans Reference Guidance

English French

The Law on Duty of Vigilance – Year 1 : Companies must do better

English French 

La vigilance au menu – Les risques que l’agro-industrie doit identifier

English French

Devoir de vigilance et déforestation – Le cas oublié du soja