Implementing the New UN Corporate Human Rights Framework: Implications for Corporate Law, Governance, and Regulation

Business Ethics Quarterly 22 (1):145-177 (2012)
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Abstract

The UN Framework on Human Rights and Business comprises the State’s duty to protect human rights, the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, and the duty to remedy abuses. This paper focuses on the corporate responsibility to respect. It considers how to overcome obstacles, arising out of national and international law, to the development of a legally binding corporate duty to respect human rights. It is argued that the notion of human rights due diligence will lead to the creation of binding legal duties and that principles of corporate and tort law can be adapted to this end. Furthermore, recent legal developmentsaccept an “enlightened shareholder value” approach allowing corporate managers to consider human rights issues when making decisions. The responsibility torespect involves adaptation of shareholder based corporate governance towards a more stakeholder oriented approach and could lead to the development of a new, stakeholder based, corporate model.

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