Corporate responsibility: ‘Vigilant’ French law puts duty of care on companies

Polly Botsford, International Bar Association


The French National Assembly has passed a law that is set to ‘force companies to change their mindset’, says Els Reynaers Kini, Senior Vice-Chair of the IBA’s Environment, Health and Safety Law Committee.

The new law makes it mandatory to carry out ‘vigilance’ and monitoring of human rights and environmental concerns within companies and, crucially, within their supply chains. 

Translated as ‘On the Duty of Care of Parent and Ordering Companies’, the law goes further than similar legislation in other jurisdictions such as the UK’s Modern Slavery Act or the EU’s Non-Financial Reporting Directive by establishing not only a reporting obligation but also a monitoring obligation. ‘In-house counsel will have to apply their minds to it,’ Reynaers Kini says.

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