I- The State’s Obligation to Protect Human Rights
The International Framework
Actions Underway [page 16]
- France actively contributes to OECD activities in the field of responsible business conduct, particularly its work on due diligence (in the textile and finance sectors) and reinforcing the OECD Guidelines to mark their 40th anniversary (from June 2016 onwards).
The National Framework
15. Economic Sectors and Human Rights
The Financial Sector [page 35]
Given the financial sector’s importance in providing loans, managing assets and financing projects, it has a duty to promote the adoption of responsible management practices by the companies it finances or invests in, especially in the human rights field.
In France, these activities represent €1.063 trillion in loans21 (including €303 billion to large businesses), more than €3 trillion in assets managed for third parties22 (including €900 billion invested in businesses) and several hundred billion euros in financing for large projects. The leverage effect is therefore considerable. In a statement dated 27 May 2013, the OECD’s Norwegian NCP specified that like other enterprises, investors are expected to comply with due diligence requirements recommended by the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises regarding the respect and protection of human rights including in relation to minority shareholdings. The OECD also set up a multi-stakeholder Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct in finance, and developed recommendations to support the implementation of the Guidelines in this sector. France monitored this work closely. Recommendations on responsible business conduct for investors have been established.
One of the instruments France has implemented for businesses is increased transparency by way of non-financial reporting requirements.
There have been a number of voluntary international initiatives by the financial sector to promote human rights (the Equator Principles,26 UNEP Finance Initiative, the development of Socially Responsible Investment, and the Global Compact). However, France has implemented a regulatory framework that is relatively unique in that some of its provisions specifically target this sector (the Grenelle II Act of 12 July 2010).
Actions Underway [page 36]
- France promotes, at the national and European levels, investment policies that incorporate due diligence and highlight the principles and practices of institutional investors.
- France promotes initiatives and commitments by the financial sector, particularly those based on the Equator Principles and the Thun Group.
- France is examining whether to extend environmental, social and governance reporting requirements for institutional investors in Europe to cover human rights.
II- Businesses’ Responsibility to Respect Human Rights
3. Risk Analysis and Impact Assessments [page 40]
The NAP cites the Ecuador Principles in the list of existing tools available at the sectoral level.