French Corporate Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence Legislation

29 March 2017
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Key takeaways

  • Today, new legislation will enter into force in France which requires major companies to undertake due diligence to identify and mitigate business risks, including risks of serious human rights violations and environmental damage.
  • Businesses headquartered in France with over 5,000 employees in France (or 10,000 globally) will be required to prepare and publish a due diligence plan.
  • If businesses fail to do so, individuals will be able to bring actions seeking orders in respect of noncompliance. The legislation also creates a new basis for civil liability for human rights-related and environmental damage under the French Civil Code.
  • The new legislation goes further than the reporting and disclosure obligations in the EU’s Non-Financial Reporting Directive, because it requires businesses to undertake due diligence to identify relevant risks, as well as taking action to mitigate these risks.