The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Foundations and Implementation


Editor: Radu Mares
The issue of corporate responsibilities has had a tumultuous history at the United Nations. When the Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed John Ruggie’s Guiding Principles in June 2011, it was the first time that the UN stated authoritatively its expectations in the area of business and human rights. This volume captures this special moment in time: a moment of taking stock of a successfully concluded UN Special Representative mandate (2005–2011) and of preparing for the massive task of following up with more operational guidance, effective governance mechanisms and sound theoretical treatments.

The 12 chapters in this collection offer an in-depth analysis of Ruggie’s reports with a special emphasis on regulatory and governance issues surrounding corporate responsibility. How does international human rights law handle corporations? Are we beginning to grasp the complexities and impacts of financial markets on human rights? What kind of corporate due diligence can make supply chains more socially sustainable? Why should parent companies act when their affiliates infringe rights? What is the potential of national human rights institutions in the area of business and human rights? What is the role of states and law in the social change process promoted by the corporate responsibility movement? How do we ‘orchestrate’ polycentric governance regimes to ensure respect for human rights?

Academics and practitioners, policymakers, business executives, civil society activists and legal professionals will find this collection useful as they embark on the difficult but exciting journey of refining and contextualising Ruggie’s foundational work.

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Radu Mares (LLD (2006), LLM (1998)) is senior researcher at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, in Lund, Sweden, specialised in the area of business and human rights. His work focuses on ways to strengthen the protection of human rights and good governance in the Global South. His preferred approach is to deliberately keep in the picture both governmental and private entities, so that the interaction between law, public policy and corporate practices can be studied, synergies captured, and their eff ectiveness enhanced. Dr. Mares has written on the justification of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, on the relation between law and self-regulation, and on CSR in the mining industry and supply chain contexts.
1 Business and Human Rights After Ruggie: Foundations, the Art of Simplification and the Imperative of Cumulative Progress Radu Mares;
2 The Ruggie Rules: Applying Human Rights Law to Corporations John H. Knox;
3 The Development of the ‘UN Framework’: A Pragmatic Process Towards a Pragmatic Output Karin Buhmann;
4 Contextualising the Business Responsibility to Respect: How Much Is Lost in Translation? Fiona Haines, Kate Macdonald and Samantha Balaton-Chrimes;
5 Remodelling Responsible Supply Chain Management: The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights in Supply Chain Relationships Sune Skadegaard Thorsen and Signe Andreasen;
6 Human Rights in the Supply Chain: Influence and Accountability Karin Lukas;
7 Responsibility to Respect: Why the Core Company Should Act When Affiliates Infringe Human Rights Radu Mares;
8 The Monster Under the Bed: Financial Services and the Ruggie Framework Mary Dowell-Jones and David Kinley;
9 Human Rights Norms for Business: The Missing Piece of the Ruggie Jigsaw – The Case of Institutional Investors Rory Sullivan and Nicolas Hachez;
10 Pushing the Boundaries: The Role of National Human Rights Institutions in Operationalising the ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework Meg Brodie;
11 Ruggie’s Diplomatic Project and Its Missing Regulatory Infrastructure Christine Parker and John Howe;
12 Protect, Respect, Remedy and Participate: ‘New Governance’ Lessons for the Ruggie Framework Tara J. Melish and Errol Meidinger;
List of Authors; Index.