Can trade unionists interfere in management Due Diligence processes ?

What is Due Diligence ? Is it mandatory ? Can we be accompanied ?

What is Due diligence ?

“Enterprises, including multinational enterprises, should carry out due diligence to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address their actual and potential adverse impacts that relate to internationally recognized human rights, understood, at a minimum, as those expressed in the International Bill of Human Rights and the principles concerning fundamental rights set out in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.”

UN GP BHR definition the reference also used by the ILO MNE and the OECD Guidelines for multinational enterprises

An entreprise should not only abide by law when performing its operations and ensure that its business partners do likewise. It should also take the necessary measures to assess the potential risks of its current and future operations and partnerships. An entreprise is no longer just a subject of national  law but a) also an agent of law enforcement, and b) should the law not respect the core UN and ILO international standards, the entreprise should not hide behind the legal loopholes, but should undertake the necessary steps to comply with these standards.

Is it mandatory for all entreprises ?

The French Due Diligence Act of 2017 is extremely important for the GUFs and national unions because it is an extraterritorial regulation that encompasses the worldwide supply chain. This new legislation covers those entreprises operating in France and having more than 5,000 employees, including direct and indirect subsidiaries, and those with more than 10,000 employees headquartered anywhere in the world.

The "Plan of Vigilance"

As of 2017, these entreprises must establish and implement a so-called “Plan of Vigilance”, identifying risks and stating measures aimed at preventing serious harm to human rights and fundamental freedoms, to the health and safety of people and the environment. This plan must cover the risks generated by the activities of the entreprise itself, those of its subsidiaries, as well as subcontractors and suppliers. In short, France has made due diligence compulsory.

Enforcement

This law will force large corporations which have not yet internally implemented this type of scheme to coordinate the work of their CSR departments, their legal and/ or risk assessment departments and their purchasing departments. The vigilance plan and the report on its implementation will have to be published each year as part of the management report of the consolidated entreprise accounts.

A court can sentence an entreprise infringing due diligence to a civil fine of up to 10 million euros, setting the amount in proportion to the seriousness of the breach and in consideration of the circumstances thereof. An alert mechanism, together with the collection of reports relating to the existence or realisation of risks, has to be established in consultation with the representative trade union organizations in the said entreprise. 

Syndex can help your Organisation to participate in Vigilance plans elaboration and to ensure their efficiency by analyzing companies’ global activities and reporting.