In Phase 1 of this study, Shift analyzed the human rights reporting of the 20 largest French companies from 2017 and early 2018, before companies were required to comply with the Duty of Vigilance Law. In this second phase, we examine their first vigilance plans and implementation reports from 2018 and 2019.

This two-part study aims to uncover whether the French Duty of Vigilance Law, which imposes mandatory human rights due diligence and reporting, would have any influence on the maturity of the companies’ public disclosure, as measured against the expectations of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Since the process of improving public reporting frequently motivates more attention by companies to their underlying performance, we also considered whether improvements in companies’ human rights policies, processes and practices might be inferred from any progress in their disclosure.

We hope the key findings from this study can guide companies towards better alignment with the intent of the Duty of Vigilance Law, and the UNGPs, as well as highlight opportunities for ensuring similar legislations fully achieve their intended impact.