Chapter 2: ESG enhancements to company law: The French ‘PACTE’ law
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This chapter focuses on the ongoing integration of ESG requirements into French company law. For a number of years, France has concentrated intensely on this topic of increasing interest to the rest of the world and has become for many an important ESG jurisprudential model. In addition to having been a forerunner by adopting a law in 2017 subjecting large French companies to a broad diligence duty, France has introduced in 2019 through a law known as ‘PACTE’, applicable to all companies registered in the country, regardless of their form or size, a broadly defined duty to take into consideration the social and environmental impacts of their activities and the possibility to set a raison d’être in their bylaws. This chapter seeks to present these innovations, to determine their significance, the difficulties of application raised by their lack of clarity and the potential perverse effects resulting from their instrumentalization.

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