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France

I- The State’s Obligation to Protect Human Rights

The International Framework

3. The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) [page 14]

The French National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines is a mediation body that aims to resolve conflicts while promoting and applying these guidelines. …

…  Its actions to promote the OECD Guidelines include: …, contributing to work completed by the G7 on global supply chains in 2015, …

… Lastly, France finances actions supporting the implementation of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. …

Actions Underway [page 16]

  • France seeks to ensure that the issues of … supply chains are addressed by the G20, particularly by working with Germany, whose presidency runs from 2016 to 2017. It also seeks to build on the G7’s commitments to the UN Guiding Principles in 2015, as well as commitments made during the International Labour Conference in June 2016, one of the three themes of which was “decent work in global supply chains”.

 

The European Framework

7. The European Union (EU) [page 18]

… Following the proposal for a European regulation on the traceability of minerals from conflict zones,6 France supported an ambitious draft regulation on responsible supply chains for minerals in conflict zones and high-risk areas. The regulation on due diligence for conflict minerals was approved at a plenary session of the European Parliament in March 2017, following the political understanding announced by the Council in June 2016. France will work to ensure that it is correctly implemented and quickly evaluated so it can be reinforced if necessary. …

 

The National Framework

13. The Role of Public Agencies [page 27]

…, the National CSR Platform, in its report on the implications of corporate responsibility on businesses’ supply chains (November 2014), recommended that the due diligence measures used by the AFD and COFACE be reinforced, and that these agencies be encouraged to set up mechanisms to deal with complaints from financial beneficiaries in the event of fundamental rights abuses.

15. Economic Sectors and Human Rights

The Agriculture and Food Sector [page 32]

The strategic importance of national food security and economic opportunities in the agricultural sector have led a number of countries and businesses to invest (and support investment) in agrifood production. Given this large-scale investment, which often involves large-scale land purchases, the international community has sought to implement guidelines and directives to regulate these projects. Two major initiatives have been launched:

France supports and is politically, technically and financially committed to adopting and implementing these texts. Working with actors involved in French cooperation efforts, it developed the Guide to Ex-Ante Analysis of Agricultural Investment Projects that Affect Land and Property Rights to facilitate the enforcement of these principles. France also actively participated in the drafting of the OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains.

Actions Underway 

  • Partner States are encouraged to apply the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land (VGGT) and the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (RAI).
  • Recommendations in the Guide to Ex-Ante Analysis of Agricultural Investment Projects that Affect Land and Property Rights are being integrated into the AFD’s due diligence procedures in the land, social and environmental fields.

Actions to be Implemented [page 33]

  • Ensure the VGGT and RAI are respected by French economic actors abroad. Training on the implementation of these principles and directives will be offered to government employees (in embassies and economic services) and agencies.

The Textile and Garment Sector [page 33]

… The NCP report, produced following hearings with all parties involved, was submitted to the Minister and published online on 2 December 2013. It addresses all actors, and establishes a full range of measures which, once implemented, will enable businesses to oversee supply chains in this sector. The recommendations were shared widely, particularly with the OECD, ILO and EU, and were followed by similar reports published by the Italian and Belgian NCPs.

Following the publication of these recommendations, the OECD set up a working group to develop a guide for the enforcement of the guidelines in the textile sector, at France’s insistence. This working group brings together international organizations such as ILO, the private sector, civil society, NCPs and States. The guide will include reinforced due diligence measures to be implemented in this specific sector. The OECD has also planned to set up a platform for shared dialogue and good practices.

As for the EU, it has set up a multi-stakeholder platform for the textile sector.

The G7 included the issue of supply chains in the Leaders’ Declaration issued under the German Presidency following the Elmau Summit in June 2015. This was followed by a roadmap, which was adopted by the French Ministries of Social Affairs and Development in October 2015. While the scope of these initiatives extends beyond the textile sector, approved measures will initially apply to this industry. This is the case for the “Vision Zero Fund”, which will be created to reinforce workplace safety and reduce workplace accidents in producer countries.

Meanwhile, the NCP is continuing to implement and build on its recommendations, particularly in order to harmonize auditing baselines and mutualize supplier audits.

Actions Underway

  • France is continuing to raise awareness of the NCP report issued on 2 December 2013, and monitor the implementation of its recommendations in the French textile, garment and distribution sectors.
  • France is helping to finalize the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector.
  • France is determining whether to support the “Vision Zero Fund” following the G7’s Leaders’ Declaration at Elmau.

II- Businesses’ Responsibility to Respect Human Rights

Introduction [page 37]

… companies must continue efforts to develop tools and good practices in the human rights field, at all levels of the production chain. …

Actions to be Implemented 

  • Monitor the implementation of legislation requiring some companies to disclose due diligence plans addressing subsidiary and subcontractor risks at each level of the supply chain, and, if necessary, take measures to enforce this legislation.
  • Promote social dialogue and employee expression as tools to reinforce respect for human rights at all levels of the supply chain.

 

III- Access to Remedy

2. Non-Judicial Mechanisms – At the International Level

2.1 The OECD National Contact Point (NCP)

… Following the Rana Plaza tragedy, the NCP stepped up its activities, especially in the field of due diligence for supply chain risks, human rights and workers’ rights. …

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