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