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.
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.