Corporate Social Responsibility: Whose Business is it Anyway?
By admin July 3, 2015


The G7 Summit in June saw some of the world`s leading economies pledge support to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). UNGPs stand as normative benchmarks for states to adhere to, in order to avoid compromising human rights in the operations and services provided by companies. States should require companies to align their business profiles and procedures with these benchmarks to increase private sector accountability.

The improvement of business conduct in supply chains is highly crucial to economic and social development worldwide. The state has an unflinching duty to protect its citizens from corporate human rights abuses; and by virtue of their existence, to have their corporate social responsibility respect human rights. This means that businesses must be held accountable for their impact on human rights, but it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that human rights are upheld.

During the G7 Summit, the world`s leading nations placed specific emphasis on supply chain management in view of increased due diligence. Although this is important, the G7 did not underscore the role that the state, or leading economies, should play in order to ensure that human rights are upheld in process of doing business. Governments should set legal standards and they should be translated into all business operations throughout the country.

Governments have three obligations to implement children’s rights in the business context, these include: respect, protect and fulfilment of human rights. Michael Addo, human rights expert and Head of the United Nations Working Group on business and human rights, added that “we welcome this unprecedented show of commitment from the highest level in some of the world’s major economies to improve business conduct in supply chains.” He further went on to remark that “now, this commitment must be translated into concrete action to ensure transparency and accountability.”

G7 leaders have also vowed to support and promote National Action Plans (NAPs) which are being developed by governments worldwide in view of how to implement the UNGPs. NAPs are policy documents that summarize existing government commitments in order to establish priorities, raise awareness of human rights within business commitments, and set positive examples for businesses to follow in their respective procedures, in a bid to advance the cause of human rights in business.

What remains to be seen however, is whether G7 nations are able to put this issue on the table of G20. In order to ensure that the workers and communities affected by business operations worldwide have their human rights uncompromised; because, in the end – human rights are everybody’s business.

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