Corporate Accountability: Non-Financial Disclosure and Liability – A French Perspective

ECFR 2017, 399-434

36 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2019

See all articles by Iris M. Barsan

Iris M. Barsan

University Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC)

Date Written: November 30, 2017


France has recently adopted two laws on CSR and anti-corruption that significantly increase the responsibility of large companies and impose a compliance approach on them. While the anti-corruption law was a necessity to catch up with international standards in this regard, the law creating a duty of vigilance is based rather on a desire to place France at the top of the CSR agenda. The ambition of the authors of this law - highly debated and criticized - was to set an example so that other countries would follow suit. It is therefore not surprising that the scope of the law on the duty of vigilance is extremely broad. These obligations are imposed at the group level. The parent company must provide compliance measures for itself, all its direct or indirect subsidiaries around the world and its and their established business partners. The liability of large companies has therefore increased substantially.

However, this French approach is in clear opposition to the European approach based on transparency (Dir. 2014/95/EU). In addition, the law has certain shortcomings that could take away some of its effectiveness. Finally, it may impose a considerable burden on French companies that their foreign competitors do not have to bear.

This article aims to critically present and analyse the French approach compared to the European approach.

Keywords: CSR, Fight Against Corruption, France, Liability, Compliance

Suggested Citation

Barsan, Iris M., Corporate Accountability: Non-Financial Disclosure and Liability – A French Perspective (November 30, 2017). ECFR 2017, 399-434, Available at SSRN:

Iris M. Barsan (Contact Author)

University Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC) ( email )

61 avenue du General de Gaulle
Creteil cedex, 94010

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