The end of the Cold War and the virtual disappearance of communism have completely altered the world economy. The supply chains of supermarkets and consumer goods industries have spread ever more widely and deeply into Asia, Africa and South America, while oil, mining and financial companies, among many others, have invested heavily in countries that were previously denied to them by political or ideological barriers.
While companies have seized the opportunities presented by globalisation, they have in many cases been completely unprepared for the risks presented by their headlong rush into these new markets. Companies have found themselves and their business partners operating in countries where corruption, injustice, internal conflict and human rights violations are rife. An increasingly alert and critical world has acted as watchdog, highlighting corporate malpractice and the links between corporations and repressive regimes.
It has increasingly been argued that companies have responsibilities for the protection and promotion of human rights. These arguments are, at least to some extent, accepted by companies. Yet, despite the increasing use of human rights language in public policy discourses, the expectations of companies remain unclear. That is, what are the ethical imperatives? What are the legal expectations? How far does responsibility extend? What can companies actually do in practice? The debate is further complicated by the range of actors (companies, governments, international institutions, local communities, non-governmental organisations [NGOs], trade unions, consumers) involved; by debates around free trade versus and fair trade; by the discussion of the specific role of governments; and by questions about the relative merits of regulation and self-regulation.
Business and Human Rights provides an analysis of the relationship between companies and human rights in the context of globalisation. The analysis is in two parts. The first maps the reasons (financial, ethical, regulatory) why human rights have become a business issue. However, simply because there are reasons why companies should be concerned about human rights, this does not say what companies should or could do. Therefore, the second part of the book looks at the practical experiences of companies in responding to specific human rights issues in the context of their own operations, in their supply chains and in specific countries. These case studies, many of which have not been previously published or analysed from the perspective of human rights, provide important insights into questions such as: How do companies organise themselves to respond to human rights challenges? What have the experiences been-positive and negative? How have companies responded to specific situations? What are the roles and responsibilities of other actors: government, trade unions, NGOs? What are the limits to responsibility?
In this outstanding collection, Rory Sullivan has drawn together leading thinkers and actors from the debate on business and human rights, to establish how far the business and human rights debate has evolved, and explore the many complex questions around roles, responsibilities and solutions that remain to be answered.
This is an excellent book, with outstanding individual contributions, as well as most meritorious editing by Rory Sullivan. - International Journal of Environment and Pollution, 5 September 2006 |
| This is a fine and fascinating text - a great buy for any library and a really stimulating introduction to the business issues raised by human rights. - Social and Environmental Accounting Journal, September 2004 |
| … one thing that Rory Sullivan and his co-authors do not suffer from is lack of material … What this definitive collection of essays exposes, however, is that even the so-called industry leaders still have a mountain to climb in translating lofty aspirations into effective realities on the ground where the dilemmas are manifold but solutions sparse … Too often practitioners have relied on the crystal ball; now, at last we have the book. - Corporate Citizenship Briefing, January 2004 |
| Human rights is an essential element of sustainability's social pillar. The editor has drawn together essays from leading thinkers and actors in the debate. - UNEP Industry and Environment, Oct–Dec 2003 |
| … [a] thought provoking book, which contains a huge amount of both conceptual discussion and, more interestingly, case studies from various industries and parts of the world. It highlights that there are no easy solutions to these issues, but it provides thoughtful comment, ideas and criticism. - Supply Management, 15 April 2004 |
| You probably won't read it cover-to-cover, but it's great to have to hand. - Radar, February 2004 |
| This is not a step-by-step textbook: there are no pat checklists or one-size-fits-all solutions. It's an insight into a complex, evolving area, and the choice of authors and the depth of their contributions ensure that it will remain a source book for years to come. - Ethical Corporation, May 2004 |
| The sheer breadth of information covered in the book could have been overwhelming for the reader to navigate had it not been for the excellent editing job. To Mr. Sullivan's credit, the book is extremely well organized, as each chapter begins with a succinct introductory section of concluding remarks. Given the book's clear and uniform structure, the reader has the option of going through each chapter sequentially, or skipping around from one chapter to another, in either case without losing a sense of coherence … … I would highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to gain an understanding of the business and human rights debate. Its analysis is thought provoking and challenging, while maintaining a balance and objectivity in its treatment of the complex issue. Businesses, NGOs, national and intergovernmental bodies, labour unions and local communities can all benefit from reading this book, and hopefully improve their perception of the best means for pursuing human rights, which Rory Sullivan eloquently describes as "fundamental principals allowing individuals the freedom to lead a dignified life, free from fear of want, and free to express independent beliefs". - Natural Resources Forum, May 2004 |
| … if you're interested in the subject, it's a worthwhile and interesting [book]. - Supply Management, April 2004 |
| Focusing in particular on transnational corporations … there is an affirmation of the need for companies to change and interesting accounts of the ways in which many companies have started the journey to that change. - The Corporate Citizen 4.1 (2004) |
| Each contribution is carefully considered, with relevant examples, and the collection as a whole will be very useful to those who are responsible for the corporate ethics and reputation of global organizations. - Change Management Monitor, 30 November 2004
Foreword Mary Robinson, Executive Director, Ethical Globalisation Initiative; former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
1. Introduction Rory Sullivan, Insight Investment, UK
2. The evolution of the business and human rights debate Sir Geoffrey Chandler, UK
3. The development of human rights responsibilities for multinational enterprises Peter Muchlinski, University of Kent at Canterbury, UK
4. Human rights, trade and multinational corporations David Kinley and Adam McBeth, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University, Australia
5. Human rights and business: an ethical analysis Denis G. Arnold, University of Tennessee, USA
6. The ability of corporations to protect human rights in developing countries Frans-Paul van der Putten, Gemma Crijns and Harry Hummels, Nyenrode University, The Netherlands
7. What is the attitude of investment markets to corporate performance on human rights? David Coles, Just Pensions, UK
8. From the inside looking out: a management perspective on human rights Rory Sullivan, Insight Investment, UK, and Nina Seppala, Warwick Business School, UK
9. Corporate social responsibility failures in the oil industry Charles Woolfson, University of Glasgow, UK, and Matthias Beck, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK
10. Mining in conflict zones Simon Handelsman, Global Issues Advisors, USA
11. Health, business and human rights: the responsibility of health professionals within the corporation Norbert Goldfield, 3M Health Information Systems, USA
12. Privatising infrastructure development: "development refugees" and the resettlement challenge Christopher McDowell, Macquarie University, Australia
13. The contribution of multinationals to the fight against HIV/AIDS Steven Lim and Michael Cameron, University of Waikato, New Zealand
14. Elimination of child labour: business and local communities Bahar Ali Kazmi and Magnus Macfarlane, Warwick Business School, UK
15. SA8000: human rights in the workplace Deborah Leipziger, consultant, The Netherlands, and Eileen Kaufman, Social Accountability International, USA
16. Corporate responsibility and social capital: the nexus dilemma in Mexican maquiladoras Luis Reygadas, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana Iztapalapa, Mexico
17. From fuelling conflict to oiling the peace: harnessing the peace-building potential of extractive sector companies operating in conflict zones Jessica Banfield, International Alert, UK
18. Extracting conflict Gary MacDonald, Monkey Forest Consulting Ltd, Canada, and Timothy McLaughlin, independent consultant, USA
19. Managing risk and building trust: the challenge of implementing the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Bennett Freeman, Former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and Genoveva Hernandez Uriz, European University Institute, Italy
20. Taking responsibility for bribery: the multinational corporation's role in combating corruption David Hess, University of Michigan Business School, USA, and Thomas Dunfee, University of Pennsylvania, USA
21. Taking the business and human rights agenda to the limit? The Body Shop and Amnesty International "Make Your Mark" campaign Heike Fabig, University of Sussex, UK, and Richard Boele, Australian Institute of Corporate Citizenship
22. Moving forwards Rory Sullivan, Insight Investment, UK Bibliography