Business and Human Rights: The Evolving International Agenda

Published on Jun 1, 2007in American Journal of International Law1.70
· DOI :10.2139/ssrn.976547
John Gerard Ruggie29
Estimated H-index: 29
(Harvard University)
The state-based system of global governance has struggled for more than a generation to adjust to the expanding reach and growing influence of transnational corporations, the most visible embodiment of globalization. This paper reviews two recent chapters in this endeavor, focused specifically on human rights: the “Draft Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights,” adopted by the United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights but not by its parent body, the UN Human Rights Commission (since replaced by the Human Rights Council); and the author’s subsequent UN mandate as Special Representative of the Secretary-General “on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.” The paper analyzes key conceptual flaws of the draft Norms, noting the pitfalls of imposing on corporations, directly under international law, the same range of human rights duties that states have; it presents an empirical mapping of current international standards and practices regarding business and human rights, ranging from the most deeply rooted international legal obligations to voluntary initiatives; and it proposes a strategy for building on existing momentum in order to reduce human rights protection gaps in relation to corporate activities.
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  • Citations (111)
Published on Dec 1, 2004in Journal of Political Philosophy0.85
Iris Marion Young39
Estimated H-index: 39
(U of C: University of Chicago)
Do people in relatively free and affluent countries such as the United States, Canada or Germany have responsibilities to try and to improve working conditions and wages of workers in far-off parts of the world who produce items those in the more affluent countries purchase? In recent years the “antisweatshop” movement has gained momentum with arguments that at least some agents in these relatively free and affluent countries do have such responsibilities. They have had rallies and press confere...
Cited By111
Published on Mar 28, 2019in Organization Studies3.54
Anselm Schneider6
Estimated H-index: 6
(Stockholm University),
Andreas Georg Scherer27
Estimated H-index: 27
(UZH: University of Zurich)
The extent to which state authorities can regulate the externalities and the behaviour of multinational corporations (MNCs) is limited. This is especially true when MNCs operate in or do business w...
Published on Jun 25, 2019in Corporate Governance
Kanji Tanimoto6
Estimated H-index: 6
(Waseda University)
Purpose This paper aims to examine the significance and challenges of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives organized by multi-stakeholders and to clarify the function of CSR initiatives: What is the significance of multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs)? What conditions are required for CSR initiatives to work satisfactorily? How do CSR standards function effectively in companies? Design/methodology/approach The significance and challenges of multi-stakeholder CSR initiatives are clar...
Nathan Andrews10
Estimated H-index: 10
(Queen's University)
Regime theorists argue that international regimes and institutions are based on principles, norms and decision-making procedures that constitute a set of patterned behaviours around which expectations converge. The notion of these institutionalised ‘logics of appropriateness’ has led to the proliferation of many global norms, such as the UN Global Compact, that are considered to govern the practices of multinational corporations in the extractive sector. The key question that this paper asks is,...
Published on Dec 1, 2018
Jan Anton van Zanten1
Estimated H-index: 1
(EUR: Erasmus University Rotterdam),
Rob van Tulder19
Estimated H-index: 19
(EUR: Erasmus University Rotterdam)
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved without the contributions of multinational enterprises (MNEs). However, extant international business research hardly covers the private sector’s role in achieving international policy goals. This article conceptualises the SDGs as a goal-based institution. Building on institutional theory, it develops propositions that help explain MNEs’ engagement with SDGs. Exploratory survey results from 81 European and North American Financial Time...
Published on Sep 1, 2018in Regulation & Governance2.79
John Gerard Ruggie29
Estimated H-index: 29
(Harvard University)
This article aims to inform the long-standing and unresolved debate between voluntary corporate social responsibility and initiatives to impose binding legal obligations on multinational enterprises. The two approaches share a common feature: neither can fully specify its own scope conditions, that is, how much of the people and planet agenda either can expect to deliver. The reason they share this feature is also the same: neither is based on a foundational political analysis of the multination...
Motti Talias1
Estimated H-index: 1
Abstract This paper analyses the establishment of international hotel quality regime via the current conceptualization of the world order as global governance (GG). It asks: What are the major characteristics of the concept of GG, and to what extent it captures adequately changes in the global political order? The concept of GG refers to macro-structural and micro-operational groups of characteristics. The GG literature tends to focus more on the macro level and less on the way GG events operate...
Published on Mar 1, 2018
Amon Barros5
Estimated H-index: 5
Este trabalho tem como objetivo contribuir com a discussao sobre direitos humanos e empresas a partir do vies dos estudos organizacionais. Pretendo contribuir com a discussao revendo brevemente as discussoes sobre direitos humanos e os argumentos que apontam sua localizacao geopolitica. Alem disso, sao trazidos argumentos em relacao a responsabilizacao das empresas no que concerne ao respeito ou, em alguns casos, a protecao de direitos humanos. Nesse sentido, e apontada a necessidade de se ter c...
Published on Jan 1, 2018
Jürgen Basedow7
Estimated H-index: 7
(MPG: Max Planck Society)
Ordering society and economy by means of legal rules is a widespread objective in modern times. The effectiveness of such rules therefore is a common concern in many countries. This paper sheds light upon the relation between substantive laws and enforcement and on the characteristic features of various enforcement tools. One of the trends of modern legal development is the quasi-experimental use of varying enforcement measures of administrative law, private law and criminal law, highlighted by ...
Published on Jan 1, 2018
Abstract The spotlight of this chapter is to understand the connection between public policy and corporate social responsibility (CSR); in other words – the institutionalization of CSR. What is the role of the government for setting standards and mandating for ensuring responsibility? The emerging accepted wisdom in policy and academic circles is that many sustainability solutions are likely to result from institutional (i.e., governance) reform. A perceptive on CSR evolving as an institution of...