Business and Human Rights
|Teacher(s): Umlas Elizabeth|
|Type of lesson: Lecture|
The course seeks to provide a solid grounding in business and human rights as an emerging and rapidly developing field. Students should be able to apply key concepts learned to practical, real-life examples, and to understand current and evolving debates around corporate responsibility to respect human rights. The first part of the course introduces the field of business and human rights (why human rights matter to business; the state of the international debate on corporate responsibility to respect human rights; the evolution of the UN framework and Guiding Principles on business and human rights) and presents an overview of measures and mechanisms through which stakeholders might hold business accountable for this responsibility (legal mechanisms; multi-stakeholder initiatives; civil society organization campaigns; shareholder activism; corporate reporting; emerging international standards). The second part takes a more sectoral/thematic approach, focusing on several areas that pose particularly difficult human rights challenges for companies (extractive industries; supply chain labor standards; operating in conflict areas), examining key issues in these areas and exploring how companies, civil society organizations, governments and other stakeholders have sought to address these. The course concludes with a brief survey of emerging topics in business and human rights as well as potential new business models (e.g. “benefit corporations”) and their implications for corporate responsibility to respect human rights.
Provide a solid grounding in the emerging field of business and human rights, and enable students to apply key concepts learned to practical, real-life examples of companies and their stakeholders facing challenges in this area