Study on the application of the law on duty of vigilance - analysis of 2018-2019 vigilance plans

This study aims to analyse the vigilance plans published by companies for the 2nd enforcement exercise of the law on the duty of vigilance and to highlight related enforcement issues. It covers 83 vigilance plans published between September 2018 and mid-June 2019.

Summary of the study
- In the vast majority of companies, vigilance plans are now formalized and measures defined, the challenge is now to ensure that they are deployed in all entities and that they are effective.  
- A quarter of the companies have set up a dedicated steering committee and a third specify how the plan is to be monitored by the company's highest governance bodies.
- One third of the companies discussed their vigilance plans with their stakeholders (at Group level).
- Companies have used ethical alert systems as alert mechanisms within the meaning of the law on duty of vigilance.
- Human rights approaches were strengthened in 2018 with the development of dedicated maps and responses.
- Existing purchasing approaches have been reviewed to focus more on vigilance approaches: dedicated risk identification, graduated responses adapted to the identified risks.

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Study on human rights & duty of vigilance in recent global framework agreements

Our study analyses links between the human rights dimension of recent global framework agreements and multinational companies' human rights vigilance approaches, such as defined by international standards and the French law on duty of vigilance. It is based on 16 global framework agreements signed between 2017 - 2019.

It shows that global framework agreements have the same scope than vigilance approaches and are therefore useful tools for deploying these approaches: dissemination and communication, identification of operational risks, monitoring, alerting and collection of reports. They are also, as instruments negociated with trade union organisations, a tool that allows stakeholders' association with vigilance approaches.

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Study on the application of the duty of vigilance law by companies - analysis of the first vigilance plans published (25 April 2018)

The French law on the duty of vigilance of parent companies and ordering companies adopted on 27 March 2017 requires the largest French companies to establish and implement a vigilance plan designed to identify and prevent the risks of serious infringements on human rights, human health and safety and environment. This plan must be made public in the companies' annual registration documents.
The study covers the first plans published on April 13, 2018 (about sixty). Its purpose is to show the first trends in the application of the French law on the duty of vigilance by the companies concerned and to identify application issues for the companies, in order to accompany them in their approaches. It was done in collaboration with the company B&L Evolution, contributor on the environmental component. 

Summary of results :
- Regulatory requirements included and being integrated into companies 
- Collaborative approaches coordinated by the CSR/DD Departments
- Carrying to the highest level and association with stakeholders to be organised
- Approaches started in 2017, of different maturity within companies
- Plan measures to be formalised on the basis of the mapping carried out or initiated in 2017; risk management responses and monitoring systems in particular 
- A priority focus today on suppliers management approaches
- Human and environmental rights approaches presented as managed
- Advanced vigilance practices: precise identification of risks, integration into existing processes, targeted responses to identified issues
- Transparency and detailed reporting efforts by some companies

Reporting framework in line with the UN Guiding Principles

Business today are subject to an increasing number of reporting and communication requirements, in particular legal ones. They must demonstrate that they can be certain of respecting human rights in their operations and across their value chain.

To help business enterprises address this challenge, edh wished to provide a French translation of the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework developed by Shift, the leading center of expertise on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. 
Adopting a continuous improvement approach, the reporting framework provides guidelines for companies about the best way to report on their policies, processes and performance in the field of human rights. Based on the UN Guiding Principles, the reporting framework may also serve as a steering tool for the implementation of a due diligence process.

Download the UN guiding principles reporting framework with implementation guidance 

Guide to assess human rights risks

Following the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights, the association has developed a guide offering managers the information required to understand and establish a human rights risks assessment process. This guide finalized in 2013, especially provides in-depth description of the various stages that need to be followed for an effective due diligence process, as defined by the UN Guiding Principles. 
Download the guide to assess human rights risks - in English / Printed copies are available from the association (contact form)