A Critical Analysis of Business Declarations and Statements from a Human Rights Perspective
Recent developments in the business and human rights field demonstrate an eagerness to come up with stronger and mandatory regulations addressed at corporations in the internal realm, required by international norms. This is seen as conducive to the necessary protection of human dignity, which therefore can be seen as insufficiently achieved at the moment. Given the existence of voluntarily-accepted initiatives on corporate-conduct regulation created by businesses themselves or by third parties which are yet not (legally) mandatory, it is necessary to consider whether the previous perception is exaggerated or accurate. The article explores this and identifies that voluntary initiatives may indeed produce positive effects that increase the likelihood of a responsible business conduct from a human rights perspective if certain conditions are met, among others by interacting with other regimes in a multi-level manner. However, it also observes that they are unreliable and in no way replace or eliminate the need of coming with mandatory corporate obligations, being there a risk of their being invoked in ways that bluewash the reputation of those endorsing those initiatives and diverting attention away from the necessity of stronger regulations.