Shared Responsibility and Labor Rights in Global Supply Chains

Journal of Business Ethics:1-16 (forthcoming)

Abstract

The article presents a novel normative model of shared responsibility for remedying unjust labor conditions and protecting workers’ rights in global supply chains. While existing literature on labor governance in the globalized economy tends to focus on empirical and conceptual investigations, the article contributes to the emerging scholarship by proposing moral justifications for labor governance schemes that go beyond voluntary private regulations and include public enforcement mechanisms. Drawing on normative theories of justice and on empirical-legal research, our Labor Model of Shared Responsibility introduces three main claims: First, that responsibility for protecting and promoting labor standards in global supply chains should be shared by all private and institutional actors involved in the production and distribution processes. Second, we offer a normative model for allocating responsibility among the various actors, based on five principles: connectedness, contribution, benefit, capacity, and power. Last, we demonstrate how the normative model could be implemented through various national and international institutional mechanisms.

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