Corporate Power over Human Rights

Encyclopaedia of Business Ethics

7 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2021

See all articles by David Birchall

David Birchall

London South Bank University; London South Bank University

Date Written: October 4, 2021

Abstract

The business and human rights (BHR) movement has developed rapidly since the 1990s, in lockstep with spiralling corporate size, wealth and influence. BHR attempts to hold corporations to account for human rights abuses. As such it does not address corporate power directly, and it is not of fundamental importance to BHR whether corporations are growing more powerful in relation to governments, society, or smaller businesses. Rising corporate power, does, however, have marked effects on access to human rights.

Corporations evidently hold the power to abuse human rights and to avoid accountability for these abuses. This clear from numerous major cases, from the Bhopal gas leak to the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, both of which resulted in major fatalities and demonstrated the failures of current practices, regulation and remedy. Environmental degradation with fatal consequences, modern slavery, and complicity with oppressive regimes are all examples of corporations using their power to further their profits through rights abuse.

Suggested Citation

Birchall, David, Corporate Power over Human Rights (October 4, 2021). Encyclopaedia of Business Ethics, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3935865

David Birchall (Contact Author)

London South Bank University ( email )

103 Borough Road
London, Greater London SE1 OAA
United Kingdom

London South Bank University ( email )

103 Borough Road
London, Greater London SE1 OAA
United Kingdom

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