Bridging the Credibility Gap between Transnational Corporations and Human Rights
16 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2011
Date Written: March 11, 2011
In his April 2008 report entitled “Protect, Respect and Remedy: A Framework for Business and Human Rights” (Framework), the Special Representative of the Secretary General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations (SRSG) John Ruggie concluded the global marketplace as currently structured posed significant risks to society due to the enormous disparity between the marketplace’s power and the reach of the institutions responsible for its regulation. The SRSG characterized this disparity between global economic forces and the capacity of societal institutions to manage such forces through their national governments as “governance gaps.” These gaps were, according to the SRSG, responsible for an increasing number of corporate-related human rights abuses.
This work is important, though incomplete. There is also a credibility gap between transnational corporations and human rights. Corporate codes of conduct, vague pronouncements of commitment to socially responsible values and highly-publicized good deeds aside, respecting human rights and avoiding negative impacts through the performance of due diligence presents value opportunities and strategic advantages beneficial to firm performance. Only when this credibility gap is bridged will the Framework and the future efforts have a reasonable chance of succeeding where so many past efforts dating back almost forty years have failed.
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