New formal notice on the basis of the vigilance law
Law n°2017-399 of March 27, 2017 relating to the duty of vigilance of parent companies and ordering companies
The vigilance law has high thresholds: it applies only to French companies employing at least 5,000 employees in France and those with more than 10,000 employees in France with their registered office elsewhere in the world.
Despite these high thresholds, the law is being applied more and more frequently.
For example, Suez was very recently given notice to modify its vigilance plan for its activities in Chile.
Indeed, four NGOs have issued formal notices to Suez to modify its vigilance plan in order to adopt the necessary measures to deal with various failures in the water supply service managed by ESSAL, a subsidiary of Suez in Chile.
The formal notice follows a sanitary disaster that occurred in July 2019: 2,000 litres of oil were spilled into an ESSAL drinking water plant in Chile, leading to a water cut of around ten days affecting more than 140,000 inhabitants. The spill also reached two rivers.
The NGOs that issued the formal notice believe that the oil spill was the result of negligence in the maintenance and monitoring of the plant.
There have now been six such formal notices under the vigiliance law since the law entered into force.