Business and Human Rights – a journey but not the final destination

A very important discussion about the challenges and risks to Swiss business moderated by Dr Klaus Leisinger took place in Geneva yesterday. Professor John Ruggie, the man who has brought the discussion on business and human rights to centre stage globally, told his attentive audience about this journey. Kofi Annan appointed Ruggie as special Representative on Business and Human Rights in 2005, and he was given a complex mandate.  He was to look at multinational activity and clarify some crucial issues; corporate responsibility, complicity and sphere of influence in particular.  Professor Ruggie was then to give recommendations as to how all of these issues should be handled or regulated globally. Not an easy task! Continue reading

Good for Business, Good for the Community – The Irish Vision for CSR and the Economy

The Irish National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility 2014-2016  is an extremely important step for the Irish business community both locally and globally according to the Irish Government. With this plan, they wish to ensure that Ireland “be recognized as a modern, fair, socially inclusive and equal society supported by a productive and prosperous economy” and they feel that “this objective can be supported by embedding CSR more widely in organisations.”

Ireland wishes to be “a Centre of Excellence for responsible and sustainable business practices through the adoption and implementation of best practices in CSR in enterprises and organisations.“ Continue reading

To Regulate or not to regulate – That is the Question!

It seems to be a common assumption, perhaps an incorrect one, that business is not in favor of regulation of their activities. A recent findings report initiated by the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights (UNWG) would seem to question that assumption, to some extent [1].

To go back in time, from 2005 to 2011 John Ruggie served as UN Special Rapporteur on Business and Human Rights and he in this capacity he produced  the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP). This framework is intended to be the global standard to prevent and address the risk of adverse impacts on human rights linked to business activity. Continue reading