‘Introduction’, in Business and Human Rights – A Compilation of Documents

This collection gathers the more important instruments dealing with the relationships of business with a range of topics such as labor rights, security issues, environmental protection, anti-corruption, good governance, poverty alleviation and development, which all have important human rights dimensions. The premise for this selection is that business has both responsibilities and opportunities to respect and support human rights. Most instruments selected have been developed specifically for business, while few others have wider addressees but have been deemed relevant for business to better grasp the human rights context and reasoning. Documents are classified by the issuing body – governments and intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, and business actors themselves. Instruments cover various stages of business involvement with human rights issues spanning codes of conduct, monitoring, reporting, certification, labels, and partnerships for development. International conventions, declarations and recommendations to business add to the few legally binding provisions yet to be found in national laws that regulate transnational social impacts of corporations. Initiatives of institutional investors, social index providers, insurers, and banks, are covered. Some documents are drafts and some others are subject to revision as experience accumulates in this fast-evolving field. Therefore websites for each instruments and its issuer are provided in order to facilitate updates and further inquiry into issuer’s activities. An introduction is provided to place in perspective this controversial topic of voluntary initiatives and corporate social responsibility.

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