We investigate the limitations and potential of law to prevent adverse environmental and human rights consequences of business operations. We also explore the extent to which the law can offer meaningful remedies to the victims of the misconduct of private companies, particularly multinational companies, in the natural resource sector. Equally, we are interested in the role of law to forge genuine partnerships between the private and the public sectors in proactively pursuing environmental goals.
A very good step in accountability was taken …by the Human Rights Council in holding corporations responsible, by saying that "We now adopt the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, … Now corporations must respect all human rights so we can help civil society in different countries to hold corporations to that standard and exercise a kind of authority of their brand. If a corporation is not respecting human rights, then its brand should be undermined, basically, and that will have a cost." Mary Robinson
In particular, we are focusing on:
- the evolution of international law to make companies responsible to respect human rights connected to environmental protection, as way to balance the protection afforded by international investment law to multinational companies
- the role of international monitoring and complaints mechanisms in providing remedies for corporate abuses, and their added value to the role of national courts
- the role of international biodiversity law (and of the legal concept of fair and equitable benefit-sharing) in particular to provide due diligence standards for corporate accountability
- the role of international organisations in developing specialised due diligence standards for corporate accountability, particularly in the agricultural sector