Business, Human rights and the environment: the evolving agenda

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8 Citations (Scopus)


There have been several initiatives, since the 1970s, trying to provide an international policy response to the link between business activities and human rights violations. However, at the beginning of the new millennium, what was still lacking was a normative framework establishing a universal paradigm for corporate responsibility grounded in international law. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNPGs) brought about a paradigm shift, authoritatively establishing that corporations bear a responsibility to respect human rights that that exists independently of States’ duties and that is part of a company’s ‘social license’ to operate. In the last ten years, the UNGPs have catalyzed a number of societal, legislative and judicial developments that are contributing to improving corporate accountability for human rights and environmental impacts. This chapter retraces the milestones of the international business and human rights agenda until the adoption of the UNGPs in 2011. It then illustrates the structure of this book, which reflects the tripartite articulation of the ‘Protect, Respect, Remedy’ framework.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages201
ISBN (Electronic)9789462654792
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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