Type: Working Paper
An Argument for Leverage-Based Business Responsibility for Human Rights
Working Paper, EUI RSCAS, 2011/48, Global Governance Programme-09, European, Transnational and Global Governance
WOOD, Stepan, An Argument for Leverage-Based Business Responsibility for Human Rights, EUI RSCAS, 2011/48, Global Governance Programme-09, European, Transnational and Global Governance - https://hdl.handle.net/1814/18735
Retrieved from Cadmus, EUI Research Repository
Recent debates about “spheres of influence” in the context of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights raised the question of whether companies’ human rights responsibilities arise, in part, from their leverage—their ability to influence the actions of others through their relationships. Special Representative John Ruggie rejected this proposition in the UN Framework for business and human rights. I argue, on the contrary, that leverage is a source of responsibility where there is a morally significant connection between the company and a rights-holder or rights-violator, the company is able to make an appreciable contribution to ameliorating the situation, it can do so at modest cost, and the threat to the rights-holder’s human rights is substantial. In such circumstances companies have a responsibility to exercise leverage even though they did nothing to contribute to the situation. Such responsibility is qualified, not categorical; graduated, not binary; context-specific; practicable; consistent with the specialized social role of business; and not merely a negative responsibility to avoid harm but a positive responsibility to do good.
Cadmus permanent link: https://hdl.handle.net/1814/18735
Series/Number: EUI RSCAS; 2011/48; Global Governance Programme-09; European, Transnational and Global Governance