MNEs, Human Rights and the SDGs – The Moderating Role of Business and Human Rights Governance

30 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2020

See all articles by Stefan Zagelmeyer

Stefan Zagelmeyer

Alliance Manchester Business School

Rudolf R Sinkovics

University of Auckland Business School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 16, 2019


The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ascribe specific roles to business organisations and have thus invigorated discussions on the link between the activities of multinational enterprises (MNEs) and international development. In the development of the MDGs and the SDGs, the human rights-related capabilities approach to development has featured prominently. Yet, so far, international business research on the links between MNEs and sustainable management has largely overlooked the human rights aspect. This paper integrates human rights into the debate on the role of business activities in sustainable development. Drawing on the business and human rights (BHR) governance approach, which analyses the governance mechanisms and structures that govern the relationships between human rights duty-bearers and rights-holders in the business and human rights field, the paper argues that BHR governance can act as moderator in the design, implementation and evaluation of business policies and practices seeking to contribute to the advancement of the SDGs. It shows how BHR governance may support, positively influence and reinforce the impact of private sector activities on international sustainable development.

Keywords: business and human rights governance, international business, Millennium Development Goals, multinational enterprises, Sustainable Development Goals, UNGPs, UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Suggested Citation

Zagelmeyer, Stefan and Sinkovics, Rudolf R, MNEs, Human Rights and the SDGs – The Moderating Role of Business and Human Rights Governance (December 16, 2019). Transnational Corporations Journal, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2019, Available at SSRN:

Stefan Zagelmeyer (Contact Author)

Alliance Manchester Business School ( email )

Booth Street West
Manchester, M15 6PB
United Kingdom


Rudolf R Sinkovics

University of Auckland Business School ( email )

12 Grafton Rd
Private Bag 92019
Auckland, 1010
New Zealand
+64 9 923 6359 (Phone)


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