Duty of vigilance & Human Rights

Very interesting morning of information – February 6, 2020 – at Hughes Hubbard & Reed, a law firm in Paris, on the subject of Compliance & Human Rights. On the […]

casques

Very interesting morning of information – February 6, 2020 – at Hughes Hubbard & Reed, a law firm in Paris, on the subject of Compliance & Human Rights.

On the basis of the UN guiding principles relating to the duties of businesses with regard to respect for human rights, it was recalled that the OECD also calls on the member states of the organization to establish principles and standards aimed at ensuring particular vigilance in the conduct of activities, but also in monitoring the supply chain and subcontracting.

In France, the law of March 27, 2017 relating to the Duty of Vigilance thus requires French companies (subject to size) to establish and make public a due diligence plan in terms of human rights and environmental impact of their activity.

If offenders naturally expose themselves to sanctions (only 237 companies are directly concerned by the law), it was also recalled that NGOs have taken up this particularly sensitive subject in public opinion, not hesitating to denounce such business or practice.

Sensitive to their responsibilities in this area but also to the reputational risk that they incur the major French principals now ask their subcontractors, suppliers and contractors to take into account these principles of due diligence and control of their activity , leading an increasing number of companies to add this subject to their risk mapping.

If all the markets and geographies do not present the same character of risk, the fact remains that the SME or the ETI which intends to accompany a large client in a sensitive area, will probably not be able to impose this duty of vigilance punctually… or permanently at the risk of excluding yourself from future markets.