From 'Do No Harm' to Doing More Good: Extending the UN Framework to Connect Political CSR with Business Responsibilities for Human Rights
CBDS Working Paper Series Working Paper Nr. 26, 2016
35 Pages Posted: 4 May 2017 Last revised: 31 May 2017
Date Written: February 11, 2016
The literature on Political CSR (PCSR) outlines the political role of corporations, but fails to offer concrete suggestions for businesses to fill governance gaps through provision of public goods. Conversely, the political role of Multi-National Enterprises (MNEs) plays a limited part in the UN Framework on Business and Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN in 2008 and forms the basis for the 2011 UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This paper contributes to connecting the two approaches by drawing on insights from the PCSR literature to theorize on the extent of the human rights responsibilities of MNEs, and combining this with the human rights focus of the UN Framework. Drawing on the existing literature's coverage of MNEs operating in developing countries, we discuss how businesses can improve the respect for and fulfilment of human rights. We propose an 'Extended UN Framework' to help attribute political responsibilities to MNEs that reflect their political power. The Extended Framework combines the original UN Framework's 'do no harm' approach with a leverage-based approach for firms to contribute to delivering public goods that are human rights.
Keywords: Due Diligence, Human Rights, Leverage, Moral Legitimacy, Political CSR, UN Framework
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