Business and Human Rights

We strive to ensure that businesses take human rights into account in all operations and that they are held accountable for their human rights record.

To us, 'Business and human rights' is also about ensuring the development of a policy environment where democratic stakeholders can hold economic decision makers, public as well as private ones, systematically accountable to international human rights standards.

Moving towards responsible global supply chains requires attention to both private and public actors and multi-level governance in transnational and national contexts. It is about sustainable production, consumption and finance.

What we address 

We cover three sub-themes under ‘Business and HumanRights’:

Regulatory frameworks: this refers to laws, soft laws, standards, and the entire eco-system of rules and enforcement. For example, attention goes to mandatory due diligence in the European Union, and international trade agreements with labour clauses and sustainability chapters.

Responsible business conduct: this refers to policies and due diligence systems that companies use to respect human rights and to contribute to the SDGs. In difficult country contexts there are genuine dilemmas for companies and policymakers alike.

Human rights-based economics: this refers to the economic policies of states and international financial institutions that enlarge or restrict the space for human rights, sustainable development, and responsible business conduct.

 

Background and RWI approach

Grounding in international human rights
With this theme RWI addresses a key challenge: building domestic and international rule-based systems that compel and enable companies to respect human rights, that is, to identify and address the human rights impacts of their decisions and offer effective remedies to victims. Our work on responsible business conduct is guided by international standards laid down in the UN Guiding Principles and OECD Guidelines and mindful of the imperatives of the green transition.
Linkages to international trade and development cooperation
Due diligence practices and expectations in supply chains can be better analysed when placed along international trade and investment arrangements as well as development cooperation. The linkages between micro and macro levels, and the importance of ‘flanking measures’, are increasingly recognised.
Mindful of political economy and planetary boundaries
Calls for responsible business conduct occur in a context of economic policies and structures that has both facilitated growth, as well as inequalities and imbalances that can disrupt societies. The climate emergency is forcing a reconsideration of how goods and services are produced and consumed, as well as how we can pursue inclusive growth within planetary boundaries.
Informed by due diligence practices and difficult contexts
Promising practices of leading companies both inform, and are shaped by, human rights due diligence. There are decades of CSR experience and multistakeholder initiatives accumulated in the last two decades. There is a turn from corporate voluntarism towards hard law and compliance as some states are building ‘policy mixes’ that combine legal and market incentives in unprecedented ways. The legislative and policy frameworks for global supply chains are changing rapidly, especially in the European Union. In difficult country contexts, in conflict zones and in new industries there are genuine dilemmas for both businesses and policymakers regarding how to ensure respect for human rights.
Collaborations and synergies
RWI pursues this thematic area through a combination of research, education, and societal outreach. Different activities and approaches are developed in RWI offices in Europe, Asia and Africa. RWI interacts with partners from academia, public sector and private sector to analyse current developments and contribute to rights-based approaches to economic decision-making. For finance and the real economy, for states and private actors, for those in the Global North and Global South, there is a pressing need to examine the interface between the economy and human rights based on latest data, theory, and experience accumulated in the business and human rights area.    

Our Blog - The Human Righter

Read more about Business and Human Rights in our blog.  

Get in touch

Radu Mares

Radu Mares

Research Director, Associate Professor, Leader of Business and Human Rights Thematic Area

Phone: + 46 46 222 12 43
E-mail: radu.mares@rwi.lu.se

Radu has a background in human rights law, specializing in the business and human rights area, with a focus on regulatory and compliance issues raised by multinational enterprises in developing countries. His main research interest is the protection of human rights through economic relations. Some questions that have engaged Radu for a long time are:

  • How does the international human rights system accommodate and interact with the fragmented, overlapping and dynamic landscape of responsible business conduct?
  • How does the shift from corporate voluntarism to hard law happen and how do companies affect the emergence, institutionalization, and diffusion of norms of social responsibility?
  • Can complex regulatory regimes that reject the ‘command-and-control’ approach deliver on their promise to achieve corporate compliance and respect for human rights?

Radu’s research draws on economic law, corporate governance, risk management, regulatory pluralism and global governance. He has also conducted field work in mining areas in Ghana and Peru. His current focus is on the EU green transition, and the impacts of this legislative framework on human rights and environmental protection globally through EU value chains.

Radu is an Associate Professor at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights, the director of the Research and Education Department, and the thematic leader for the Business and Human Rights area at RWI. He is a Doctor of Law (PhD) and a Docent in the Faculty of Law at Lund University. Radu contributes to RWI capacity-strengthening programs for academics, businesses and/or governmental actors in China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Estonia and Belarus, and Asia region. Since 2007 he has taught and supervised at Lund University’s Faculty of Law and more recently at the Economics Faculty. Radu values opportunities to collaborate with colleagues from other disciplines, to explore new linkages between economics and human rights, in education, research, and outreach.

For further updates on his research, please refer to his Research profile:

https://portal.research.lu.se/en/persons/radu-mares 

 

Business and Human Rights staff


Radu Mares

Radu Mares

Research Director, Associate Professor, Leader of Business and Human Rights Thematic Area

Phone: + 46 46 222 12 43
E-mail: radu.mares@rwi.lu.se

Radu has a background in human rights law, specializing in the business and human rights area, with a focus on regulatory and compliance issues raised by multinational enterprises in developing countries. His main research interest is the protection of human rights through economic relations. Some questions that have engaged Radu for a long time are:

  • How does the international human rights system accommodate and interact with the fragmented, overlapping and dynamic landscape of responsible business conduct?
  • How does the shift from corporate voluntarism to hard law happen and how do companies affect the emergence, institutionalization, and diffusion of norms of social responsibility?
  • Can complex regulatory regimes that reject the ‘command-and-control’ approach deliver on their promise to achieve corporate compliance and respect for human rights?

Radu’s research draws on economic law, corporate governance, risk management, regulatory pluralism and global governance. He has also conducted field work in mining areas in Ghana and Peru. His current focus is on the EU green transition, and the impacts of this legislative framework on human rights and environmental protection globally through EU value chains.

Radu is an Associate Professor at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights, the director of the Research and Education Department, and the thematic leader for the Business and Human Rights area at RWI. He is a Doctor of Law (PhD) and a Docent in the Faculty of Law at Lund University. Radu contributes to RWI capacity-strengthening programs for academics, businesses and/or governmental actors in China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Estonia and Belarus, and Asia region. Since 2007 he has taught and supervised at Lund University’s Faculty of Law and more recently at the Economics Faculty. Radu values opportunities to collaborate with colleagues from other disciplines, to explore new linkages between economics and human rights, in education, research, and outreach.

For further updates on his research, please refer to his Research profile:

https://portal.research.lu.se/en/persons/radu-mares 

 

Malin Oud

Malin Oud

Head of Stockholm Office, Director of China Programme

Phone: +46 (0)76 830 6088
E-mail: malin.oud@rwi.lu.se

Malin Oud is Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute’s Stockholm Office, and also heads the Institute’s China Programme as well as its thematic work on Business and Human Rights. Malin has more than 20 years’ experience in the field of human rights and sustainable development, and has worked as a programme manager and advisor with international organisations, government agencies, multinational corporations, as well as non-governmental organisations. 

Malin is a Member of the Advisory Boards of the Berlin-based think-tank Mercator Institute for China Studies and the Hong Kong-based NGO China Labour Bulletin, and an Advisor to the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights. In 2011-2016, Malin founded and managed the consultancy Tracktwo. Prior to that, she managed initiatives for democracy and freedom of expression at the Swedish International Development Agency. From 2001 to 2009, she was based in Beijing as the Raoul Wallenberg Institute’s China office director. She studied Chinese language, Chinese law and international human rights law in Lund, Kunming, and London, and has an MA in International Development from Melbourne University. Malin is a regular public speaker, moderator, and expert commentator in Swedish media.

Malin Oud CV

Malin on LinkedIn

Recent publications

Sample media interviews

Sample speaking engagements

Keywords: Business and human rights, human rights and the environment, human rights and development, China

Mostafa Sen

Mostafa Sen

Programme Officer

Phone: (+855) 16 907 049
E-mail: mostafa.sen@rwi.lu.se 

Mostafa holds a Master degree in Human Rights Law from Pannasastra University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. For the past 15 years Mostafa has coordinated programmes in the areas of human rights, democracy and sustainable development in Cambodia. He has focused particularly on civil society and human rights of women and has vast experience of coordinating and monitoring Sida-funded programmes. Previously, he worked for Forum SYd, GIZ, CAMP, EIYAC and OIYP.

Grace Mbogo

Grace Mbogo

Programme Officer

E-mail: grace.mbogo@rwi.lu.se

Regional Africa Programme — Focal Point: East African Law Society (EALS), Network of National Human Rights Institutes (NANHRI), East African Court of Justice (EACJ)

Grace Mbogo joins RWI from its longstanding partner the Pan African Lawyers Union, and has just completed an LLM with focus on Transnational Criminal Justice and Crime Prevention at the University of Western Cape. She will work as Programme Officer with the Regional Africa Programme, in particular the partnerships with the East African Court of Justice, East Africa Law Society and Network of African NHRIs, as well as with our bilateral cooperation in Ethiopia.

HQ: Lund Office

https://rwi.lu.se/ info@rwi.lu.se +462222 12 08 RWI Grådbrodersgatan 14, Lund, Sweden

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