Business & Human Rights: Corporate Recognition and ResponsibilityChina Rights Forum, No. 1, 2008
Christine Bader discusses the divergent perception of human rights as a matter of abuse and corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a means to "highlight whatever topics portray companies in the best light." This gap is partly due to a "vacuum of guidance" on how corporations can and should enhance the extension of human rights. Companies operate internationally in weak enforcement environments where they are sometimes called upon to pick up the slack of ineffectual governments, but a fundamental hurdle lies in the fact that the two types of institutions don't share the same "responsibilities, mandate, or expertise."
Bader also analyzes the results of John Ruggie's survey of Chinese companies and their recognition of human rights. Though the sample size was low, the survey produced some interesting results, especially in comparison to a global survey conducted previously. Although Chinese companies recognized rights at a lower rate than companies in the global sample, there was the "notable exception of the right to development, which was recognized more often by the Chinese companies," writes Bader. The survey also suggested that "home government support and global competition [presence in the Fortune Global 500] may be correlated to corporate recognition of human rights."
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