There is a chain of responsibility where a company issuing orders contractually requires of its suppliers that they pass on the labour and environmental requirements that appear in its CSR documents (business code of conduct, ethical charter, international framework agreement, etc.) and impose the said requirements on their own suppliers. There is thus a transfer to the suppliers and a declination to the suppliers of the suppliers (rank 2, 3, etc.) of the expected labour conditions for manufacture set by the company that issued the order (French national point of contact, Rapport du PCN sur la mise en œuvre des principes directeurs de l’OCDE dans la filière du textile et de l’habillement [Report of the PoC on the implementation of the OECD guiding principles in the textile and clothing industry], following the referral made by Madame Nicole Bricq, minister for external Trade, 2 Dec. 2013, p. 21).
The notion of the chain of responsibility also occurs in environmental law upon the closing down of an installation rated for the protection of the environment, in order to know to whom falls the duty to make safe and then to restore the site, allowing the risks to the environment and to public health to be limited (see art. L. 512-17 Environmental Code).
The chain of responsibility is to be distinguished from the "tree of causes" (or the Ishikawa tree) which is a method allowing a structured search for the factors that contributed to the occurrence of an accident, to understand the scenario of the accident and to propose preventative actions.