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Are we speaking the same language? Corporate perceptions of human rights responsibilities

McBeth, Adam 2004, Are we speaking the same language? Corporate perceptions of human rights responsibilities, in ISBEE 2004 : International Society of Business, Economics and Ethics Quadrennial World Congress : Global Perspectives on Ethics of Corporate Governance, Palgrave Macmillan, [New York, N.Y.].

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Title Are we speaking the same language? Corporate perceptions of human rights responsibilities
Author(s) McBeth, Adam
Conference name International Society of Business, Economics and Ethics. World Congress (3rd : 2004 : Melbourne, Vic.)
Conference location Melbourne, Vic.
Conference dates 15th Jul. 2004
Title of proceedings ISBEE 2004 : International Society of Business, Economics and Ethics Quadrennial World Congress : Global Perspectives on Ethics of Corporate Governance
Editor(s) Rossouw, G.J. (Deon)
Sison, Alejo José G.
Publication date 2004
Conference series International Society of Business, Economics and Ethics World Congress
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Place of publication [New York, N.Y.]
Summary Over the last several years, notions of corporate social responsibility and corporate responsibility for human rights have developed on several fronts, including under international human rights law, through voluntary initiatives and in the discourse and the reporting of the corporations themselves. But are all protagonists on all these fronts speaking the same language? Are these developments truly improving the realisation of human rights?
As one aspect of its three year Australian Research Council project examining the legal human rights responsibilities of multinational corporations, the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law set out to discover the perceptions that multinational corporations have of their own human rights responsibilities, the types of activities undertaken by corporations to fulfill those responsibilities and the appropriate extent, if any, of the imposition of legally binding human rights obligations on corporations.
While not setting out the formal findings of that empirical study, this paper reports on some interesting discoveries as to how corporations see their place in the human rights debate. It notes a divergence among corporations' views of the nature of human rights responsibility - whether an obligation or a benevolence - as well as its content. In considering whether corporations ought to have legally binding human rights obligations, a surprising number of corporations replied in the affirmative, citing reasons such as certainty in dealing with suppliers and instituting a level playing field against rogue operators.
However,  perhaps the most important finding is the different understandings of human rights as they relate to a corporation's operations. Agreement on potential reforms would be meaningless if they were not employed towards a commonly understood end. After examining the various responses of the corporations and the evidence they cited to support their contentions, the paper concludes that the various protagonists of human rights responsibility for corporations may be using the same words, but they are not yet speaking the same language.
ISBN 9781403975843
1403975841
Language eng
Field of Research 180109 Corporations and Associations Law
Socio Economic Objective 970118 Expanding Knowledge in Law and Legal Studies
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
Copyright notice ©2006, Palgrave Macmillan
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30005426

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Law
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