Corporate human rights responsibility and multinationality in emerging markets: a legal perspective for corporate governance and responsibility

Sascha Bachmann, Vijay Pereira

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    Abstract

    This ‘perspective’ paper highlights the evolving concept and idea of Corporate Human Rights Responsibility (CHRR) under international law. The paper thus aims to rectify the scarcity of such a notion within the existing frameworks, and its related significance to other concepts of corporate responsibility and governance. On 11 June 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council endorsed the ‘Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights’ as a new set of guiding principles for global business designed to provide a global
    standard for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse impacts on human rights linked to business activity. This paper develops and builds upon the emerging concept of CHRR in the context of Emerging Market Multinationality (EMM), by proposing that multinational corporation (MNCs) be more proactive in taking on board CHRR within their corporate governance (CG) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) agendas, so as to avoid future risks of being sued and taken to court. This paper thus aims to use concepts of and alternatives under international law of establishing CHRR, which reflect on existing legislative and political initiatives like the above cited business principles as well as the failed
    ‘Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights’ of 2003. Based on related initiatives such as CSR and good CG practice, this article further calls for a holistic approach, which combines the existing elements and which is to be borne by a multitude of stakeholders, i.e. consumers, employees to executive directors. The current literature suggests paucity and underrepresentation of
    research on the legal facets of human right responsibilities on the part of MNCs in emerging economies such as India. The ‘ghost’ of the Bhopal tragedy twenty seven years ago in India still haunts us and has resurfaced with Dow Chemicals, then Union Carbide, who was responsible for the tragedy, also having sponsored the 2012 London Olympics, and gained more bad press, than good. This study thus specifically looks at India, through the ‘unique’,
    chronological and time-line (longitudinal) case of Bhopal, to elucidate our concept of CHRR.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)52-67
    JournalInternational Journal of Business Governance and Ethics
    Volume9
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Keywords

    • India
    • Bhopal case
    • Corporate human rights responsibility,
    • Corporate social responsility,
    • Good corporate governance,
    • Business guidelines

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