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Implementation of International Business and Human Rights Standards into Corporate Law and Policies

Student: Olga Ganina

Supervisor: Vera Rusinova

Faculty: Faculty of Law

Educational Programme: Law of International Trade, Finance and Economic Integration (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2021

At the current stage of the international human rights law, transnational corporations could not possess direct obligations on human rights protection. However, corporations do cause human rights and environmental harm. The business and human rights (‘BHR’) agenda opts to connect this ‘governance gap’ and find the balance between state responsibility to protect human rights and corporate responsibility to respect human rights. In parallel, corporate social responsibility (‘CSR’) aims to redirect corporate governance towards more socially responsible conduct. One of the outcomes of this ‘balancing exercise’ was adopting the 2011 UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (‘UNGPs’) that introduced corporate human rights due diligence. Nevertheless, the recent studies detected the low level of corporate reporting on human rights due diligence resulting from the problem of corporate ‘means-ends decoupling’ and ‘greenwashing’. Thus, the present research is focused on the implementation of international business and human rights standards at the corporate level. The thesis seeks to prove why corporate law and policies should address international business and human rights standards when making management decisions. The paper pays special attention to the nature, scope and content of the corporate human rights due diligence and the effectiveness of its existing legislative models. Further, the thesis quests for the BHR standards in 5-top world market companies vis-à-vis case-study on human rights and environmental transnational litigation. The paper concludes with the overall assessment of the corporate implementation of the BHR standards and suggests several strategies for their more effective compliance.

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