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Business Policies on Human Rights: An Analysis of Their Content and Prevalence Among FTSE 100 Firms

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  • Lutz Preuss

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  • Donna Brown

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    Abstract

    The new millennium has witnessed a growing concern over the impact of multinational enterprises (MNEs) on human rights. Hence, this article explores (1) how wide-spread corporate policies on human rights are amongst large corporations, specifically the FTSE 100 constituent firms, (2) whether any sectors are particularly active in designing human rights policies and (3) where corporations have adopted such policies what their content is. In terms of adoption rates of human rights policies, evidence of exemplary approaches in individual companies contrasts with a less satisfactory engagement pattern across the sample, as 42.8% of firms do not seem to address human rights at all. With regard to the content of corporate human rights policies, the study found shallow commitments to dominate, where companies focus on a narrow range of negative rights, i.e. on respecting human rights, rather than positive ones, i.e. initiatives to protect or fulfil human rights. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10551-011-1127-z
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Business Ethics.

    Volume (Year): 109 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 289-299

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:109:y:2012:i:3:p:289-299

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100281

    Related research

    Keywords: Human rights; Corporate social responsibility; Multi-national enterprises; UN Declaration of Human Rights;

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    1. Editors, 2003. "Editor's Introduction," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 645-648, October.
    2. Patrick Erwin, 2011. "Corporate Codes of Conduct: The Effects of Code Content and Quality on Ethical Performance," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 99(4), pages 535-548, April.
    3. Editors, 2003. "Editor's Introduction," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 315-318, 04.
    4. Lutz Preuss, 2010. "Codes of Conduct in Organisational Context: From Cascade to Lattice-Work of Codes," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 94(4), pages 471-487, July.
    5. Florian Wettstein, 2010. "The Duty to Protect: Corporate Complicity, Political Responsibility, and Human Rights Advocacy," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 96(1), pages 33-47, September.
    6. Ennio Lugli & Ulpiana Kocollari & Chiara Nigrisoli, 2009. "The Codes of Ethics of S&P/MIB Italian Companies: An Investigation of Their Contents and the Main Factors that Influence Their Adoption," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 84(1), pages 33-45, January.
    7. Kolk, Ans & Van Tulder, Rob, 2004. "Ethics in international business: multinational approaches to child labor," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 49-60, February.
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    Cited by:
    1. Edmund Byrne, 2014. "Towards Enforceable Bans on Illicit Businesses: From Moral Relativism to Human Rights," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 119(1), pages 119-130, January.

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