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► Full Reference: M.-A. Frison-Roche, "Conclusions", in Ch. Maubernard et A. Brès (dir.), Institut de droit européen des droits de l'homme et Centre de droit de l'entreprise, Université de Montpellier, Le devoir de vigilance des entreprises : l'âge de la maturité?("The Entreprises duty of vigilance: the maturity age?") , Montpellier, May 25, 2023.
The conference is held in French.
🧮see the manifestation programme (in French)
🌐 read the report done on LinkedIn (in French)
► English summary of this final speech of the manifestation: It is rather difficult to draw a conclusion after listening so many contributions. For three reasons: firstly, because of their richness and extreme diversity; secondly, because of the fact that we do not know whether the duty of vigilance is under the French law of 2017 (known as the Vigilance Law) or in other national, European and international texts or beyond or below the legal rules; thirdly, because we do not know what is meant by the "maturity" of a legal concept. But in the end, since the question posed by the title itself of the colloquium is Duty of Vigilance: the age of maturity? the answer is clearly: no.
But this is regrettable. It is therefore essential to explore the ways in which the duty of vigilance can mature. If we find merit in this duty which has now entered the legal system, there are eight intersecting avenues, which must be exploited.
The first path is progression through the passage of time, rediscovering what in the past was already vigilance and what in the future will be its deployment.
The second way is to progress by fixing the vocabulary, because we are witnessing a great battle of words, overtly or covertly, in French or English.
The third path is progression through the emergence of principles, or even a principle, rediscovered or invented.
The fourth path is progression through coherence brought to the legal system(s), which at present suffer from gaps and inconsistencies, which could be remedied by methods such as centralising litigation or, more radically, ignoring borders.
The fifth path is progression through the fact that it works, because vigilance techniques are those of Compliance, of which vigilance is the leading edge, and the challenge is to find solutions.
The sixth path is progression through using power of the legal system not only to create new areas of relevance - starting with the notion of vigilance, but also that of the value chain - but also to impose new indifferences, namely indifference to the figure of the market (to which laws prefer the company and the value chain) and indifference to borders.
The seventh path is progression through bringing perspectives closer together, in order to find solutions even when interests are opposed. This is where the two techniques of contract and mediation are very welcome.
The eighth path is progression through culture, because the culture of vigilance, like the culture of compliance, must be developed within companies and supply chains, and must become common to them and their stakeholders.