Contribution to the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights’ Consultation on “Corporate Influence in the Political and Regulatory Sphere”
The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights’s thematic report to the UN General Assembly, presented in October 2022, examined the issue of corporate political engagement. As part of the consultative process leading up to the report, the Working Group solicited input from stakeholders on corporate capture, which it defined as “undue political influence by businesses.” Just Ground urged the Working Group to include a focus on the subtle but powerful ways that corporations shape discourse, how this influences institutions, policies and norms––and how they have done this in the business and human rights (BHR) space in particular.
Just Ground’s submission encouraged a critical reflection on the political, moral, and technical authority that corporate actors exercise in BHR institutions and discourse and how this has had a corrosive influence on rights holders’ access to remedy. Specifically, in the BHR space, corporate actors have played a key role in shaping a discourse that: 1) envisions business entities as governance actors instead of objects of regulation; 2) that is more apt to embrace market-driven models of economic development as the definition of development; 3) that advances making a “business case” for respecting human rights; and 4) that increasingly calls for victims of corporate human rights abuses to collaborate with the perpetrators in seeking “win-win solutions” rather than claiming rights and demanding accountability.
The full submission can be accessed here.
Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash