UN FORUM SERIES – Measuring Progress: Lawyers and Climate Change

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Business responsibility to respect rights


One of the most daunting challenges in the implementation of the UNGPs is grappling with the legal relevance of the second pillar, the business responsibility to respect rights. The hostility of grass roots human rights civil society organizations and many “third world” states to the UNGPs rests to a large extent upon an understanding that whatever the business responsibility to respect rights is, it most definitely is not “legally binding,” whether under domestic or international law.

From this perspective, for the UNGPs to be useful, they should have confronted the long-standing problem of corporate impunity by mandating “legally binding” corporate accountability solutions, whether in international or domestic courts, including through transnational civil litigation. As the UNGPs are seen to have failed to deliver binding legal corporate accountability, they are considered inadequate – and it is this failure that underlies the push for a “binding” international treaty.


Blog Post, LSE.