Corporate Social Responsibility Versus Business and Human Rights: Bridging the Gap Between Responsibility and Accountability
Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 237-59 (2015)
24 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2015
Date Written: 2015
This article explores the evolution of business and human rights (BHR) from a lawyer’s perspective and examines how it is contextually and conceptually different from corporate social responsibility (CSR) in its aims and ambitions. While CSR emphasizes responsible behavior, BHR focuses on a more delineated commitment in the area of human rights. BHR is, in part, a response to CSR and its perceived failure. This has led to a gap with two disciplines or strands of discourse that are diverging rather than converging. This article explores how the quest for accountability shapes a very different narrative for BHR, which takes it more into the realm of binding law, State sponsored oversight, and the importance of access to remedy as a measure of corporate accountability. As a result, at the current juncture, the BHR movement is drifting further away from CSR and the role of companies as voluntary and affirmative contributors to human rights realization. The author argues that BHR can draw from CSR to allow states to create incentives for businesses to promote human rights in their operations.
Keywords: corporate social responsibility, business and human rights, corporate accountability, transnational corporations, human rights, treaties, United Nations, European Union
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