The Equator Principles and Human Rights Due Diligence – Towards a Positive and Leverage-Based Concept of Corporate Social Responsibility
34 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2015
Date Written: July 6, 2015
The following article is guided by two main research questions: First, do the Equator Principles (EPs), a voluntary CSR-initiative in the project finance sector, and the recently published working paper of the Thun Group of Banks adequately address the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights or do they fall behind the ‘Ruggie framework’? Second, is the demand for human rights due diligence sufficient to classify the EPs as a positive and leverage-based concept of CSR (à la Wettstein and Wood) or is this requirement still a feature of a negative and impact-based concept of CSR? In case it is a negative and impact-based concept of CSR, the question comes up which further steps should be taken by financial institutions to fulfill their positive and leverage-based responsibilities. The article argues that positive and leverage-based responsibilities for multinational companies exist – due to the moral nature of human rights and due to the political authority of multinational companies – and that the current (Ruggie-like) requirements for human rights due diligence are not adequate for a positive and leverage-based concept of CSR. Further measures should be taken by multinational companies – and especially (Equator) banks which possess a high leverage-influence over their clients – to not only ensure the respect for human rights, but also the on-the-ground protection and realization of human rights.
Keywords: Equator Principles; Human Rights Due Diligence; ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework; U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; Positive and Leverage-based Responsibility.
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