Business Enterprises and the Environment: Corporate Environmental Responsibility
Grotius Centre Working Paper 2014/036-SDL. Published in: The Dovenschmidt Quarterly December 2013 No. 4 pp. 176-189.
25 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2014
Date Written: July 29, 2013
In 2011, following his 2005 initial mandate of the UN Commission on Human Rights and his extended 2008 mandate of the UN Human Rights Council, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on the issues of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, professor John Ruggie, issued the final text of the "Guiding Principles for the Implementation of the United Nations 'Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework'". The 2008 Framework on Business and Human Rights and the complementing 2011 Guiding Principles consist of three pillars: the duty of states to protect human rights, the responsibility of business enterprises to respect human rights, and access to remedies for victims of human rights abuses. They currently qualify as the dominant paradigm in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) discourse, also because they now form part of various soft law and self-regulation initiatives. The Framework and Guiding Principles do not however specifically focus on environmental issues. But their systematic approach and structure do provide a model to address state duties and business responsibilities to care of the environment. This article is intended to complement the UN Framework and Guiding Principles on business and human rights with principles in the field of business and the environment. Hence, it is submitted that states have a customary duty to care for the environment (paragraph 2); it is similarly submitted that business enterprises have a responsibility to care for the environment (paragraph 3); and it is submitted that stakeholders must have access to remedies in relation to breaches of these duties and responsibilities (paragraph 4).
Keywords: Corporate Environmental Responsibility, Environmental Due Diligence, Environmental CSR, Business enterprises and the environment, Environmental complement to Ruggie Framework
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation