Monday, November 1, 2021
David Birchall, Corporate Power over Human Rights, Encyclopedia of Business Ethics (October 4,2021), Abstract Below.
The business and human rights (BHR) movement has developed rapidly since the 1990s, in lockstep with spiralling corporate size, wealth and influence. BHR attempts to hold corporations to account for human rights abuses. As such it does not address corporate power directly, and it is not of fundamental importance to BHR whether corporations are growing more powerful in relation to governments, society, or smaller businesses. Rising corporate power, does, however, have marked effects on access to human rights.
Corporations evidently hold the power to abuse human rights and to avoid accountability for these abuses. This clear from numerous major cases, from the Bhopal gas leak to the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, both of which resulted in major fatalities and demonstrated the failures of current practices, regulation and remedy. Environmental degradation with fatal consequences, modern slavery, and complicity with oppressive regimes are all examples of corporations using their power to further their profits through rights abuse.