Business and the International Human Rights Regime: A Comparison of UN Initiatives [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 87 (2):401 - 417 (2009)
This article argues that the extension of the international regime of human rights to companies has not changed the essentially state-centric nature of the regime. The analysis focuses on three recent United Nations initiatives: (1) 'Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights', (2) the Global Compact, and (3) the work of the UN special representative on business and human rights. The analysis shows that, despite these initiatives, states are the primary holders of human rights obligations and have a key role in the decision making and enforcement of the regime. Companies have participated to the regime, but they have done so mainly through lobbying governments and thus enforcing the role of states. The analysis also shows that the engagement of new actors to decision-making about the extension of regime norms is essential for norm adoption. Finally, the issue of non-compliant companies needs to be resolved before the regime can be considered established
Keywords business and human rights  corporate social responsibility  Global Compact  international human rights  regime theory  transnational corporations
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Oliver F. Williams (2004). The UN Global Compact. Business Ethics Quarterly 14 (4):755-774.

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