Ruggie’s Protect, Respect, and Remedy Framework for the UN is noteworthy because it challenges a traditional view that held that businesses had only indirect legal obligations to the people and communities in which they act. Instead, Ruggie envisions businesses as having more direct human rights obligations. The obligations of states and businesses are summed up nicely by the three key principles of UN Framework:
- Protect: States have a positive duty, by way of passing laws, prosecuting wrongdoings, etc., to ensure that human rights are not violated.
- Respect: Businesses are to follow the “Do No Harm” principle. While not as demanding as the obligations of the state, businesses have the responsibility to meet human rights demands.
- Remedy: All agents must be diligent in identifying and redressing the effects of their actions on human rights.
Ruggie’s work as Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the UN Global Compact and the UN Global Compact initiative itself (host of the recent Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum) have received a great deal of attention from the international community, businesses, NGOs, and academics.
Of particular interest for CBERN is a recent issue of Business Ethics Quarterly (BEQ) focusing in a critical way on Ruggie’s work. The January 2012 BEQ issue is dedicated to a discussion of Ruggie’s UN Framework and is an excellent source for detailed analyses, both theoretical and practical, of the Framework.
In the interests of fostering and sharing research, over the next few weeks we’ll be running a series of posts on each of the articles in that January issue, some of which were discussed at a roundtable on Human Rights and Business at this year’s Canadian Philosophical Association in Waterloo/Kitchener.
Please stay tuned as we begin a discussion of the following articles:
2. Florian Wettstein’s “Silence as Complicity: Elements of a Corporate Duty to Speak Out against the Violation of Human”
3. Stepan Wood’s “The Case for Leverage-Based Corporate Human Rights Responsibility”
4. Aron Dhir’s “Shareholder Engagement in the Embedded Business Corporation: Investment Activism, Human Rights, and TWAIL Discourse”
5. John Douglas Bishop’s “The Limits of Corporate Human Rights Obligations and the Rights of For-Profit Corporations”
6. Peter Muchlinski’s “Implementing the New UN Corporate Human Rights Framework: Implications for Corporate Law, Governance, and Regulation”
The BEQ special issue on human rights is an outcome of a CBERN-hosted Business and Human Rights Symposium, held over the final weekend of February 2010. 23 Canadian and international participants gathered together for a 4-day roundtable discussion that was generated from the topics of 18 participant papers drafted specifically for the event. Through this initiative we aim to continue the conversation about these ideas in a wider forum.
Papers from the special issue are now freely available for download through Business Ethics Quarterly. Click to download John Ruggie’s “Protect, Respect, and Remedy” framework for Corporate Social Responsibility.