Business Organizations and Environmental Law, climate change, corporate social responsibility, business and human rights, Canada, extractive industries
During the negotiation of the Paris Agreement, many argued that the final text should integrate a human rights approach so as to better align climate governance under the UNFCCC with climate justice. Reference to human rights ultimately appeared only in the Preamble, despite submissions from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that urgent and ambitious State action to combat climate change is an existing duty of international human rights law. Another submission highlighted the role of businesses as duty-bearers who must contribute to climate mitigation and be accountable for climate impacts. This article will consider an unexplored avenue through which Canada could advocate for climate mitigation by examining whether Canada’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy for Canadian extractive sector companies operating internationally integrates consideration of human rights and climate change. The paper will argue that while Canada’s CSR strategy expects Canadian extractive companies, including oil & gas companies, to respect human rights wherever they operate, the international CSR standards endorsed in the Strategy are largely climate mitigation bind. Moreover, many of these standards are also gender blind, of importance given that women of the global south are among the most vulnerable to the human rights impacts of climate change.
Sara Seck, “Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, and the Extractive Industries” (2018), online (pdf): Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law [perma.cc/8J9D-99SE].