With Power Comes Responsiblity: Human Rights and Corporate Accountability

University of New South Wales Law Journal, Vol. 28, No. 3, p. 581, 2005

33 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2010

See all articles by Justine Nolan

Justine Nolan

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2005

Abstract

The influence of transnational corporations (TNCs) on the economic and political life of most countries – and on economic and political relations in general – has increased greatly in recent decades. Today, the economic capacities of transnational corporations go far beyond the economic capacities of the countries in which they operate, and their political muscle is often far greater than the ability of some states to regulate them effectively. This power should be accompanied by responsibility and the United Nations Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights constitute the most recent attempt to definitively outline the human rights and environmental responsibilities attributable to business. Corporate social responsibility, accountability or citizenship is not a new concept. What is new is an emerging international consensus on the human rights standards that are applicable to companies and some innovative proposals for ensuring companies implement such standards. This article considers the Norms as a framework for definitively outlining the human rights responsibilities of business and argues that the Norms are a welcome initiative in comprehensively defining these obligations.

Keywords: human rights, corporate responsibility, corporate accountability, UN Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Nolan, Justine, With Power Comes Responsiblity: Human Rights and Corporate Accountability (2005). University of New South Wales Law Journal, Vol. 28, No. 3, p. 581, 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1538608

Justine Nolan (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

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