The Corporate Responsibility to Remedy (3rd Pillar Ruggie Framework) - Analysis of the Corporate Responses in Three Major Oil Spill Cases: Shell - Nigeria, BP – US (the Gulf), Chevron – Ecuador
55 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2011
Date Written: November 2, 2011
From 2005-2011, the UN Special Representative for Human Rights and Business, Prof. John Ruggie, has built a governance framework comprising three pillars, i.e., ‘Protect, Respect, Remedy,’ to clarify the complementary roles of governments (public actors) and companies (private actors) in respect to the protection and realisation of human rights. The first pillar of the framework concerns the State’s duty to protect citizens from human rights violations by private actors, such as companies. The second pillar regards the corporate responsibility to respect human rights. The third pillar is about the shared responsibility of States and companies to provide legal and non-legal remedies to victims of corporate (mis)conduct. The concepts and ideas contained in this pillar still require sharpening as well as discussion on how to put them into practice. This article centres on the third pillar. First, it discusses the background and content of the third pillar: what does it mean to provide remedies, both from the corporate governance perspective and from a more operational perspective? It analyses what Ruggie’s ‘Guiding Principles’ state on providing effective remedies. Next, three case studies concerning major oil spills will be presented. In each of them, problems with communities escalated resulting in many legal procedures. The first is the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The second and third cases concern the oil spills and environmental pollution in water basins and soil in Ecuador and Nigeria for which, respectively, Chevron and Shell are being held accountable in various legal proceedings. The corporate responses by each of these multinationals towards said proceedings are analysed from the perspective of Remedy (and the prevention of conflicts). Finally, an attempt is made to test the oil companies’ remedies against the effectiveness parameters as contained in Ruggie’s Guiding Principles, meanwhile indicating where possibilities lay for improvement.
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