Health - an introduction
Below are select introductory materials on business and health (including workplace health & safety). Further reports from a wide range of sources are in the "Health: General" section of our site.
- Key international standards
- Key reports & guidance
- Concerns, company responses & non-responses
- Positive steps by companies
- Lawsuits regarding health
Key international standards
Universal Declaration of Human Rights: article 25
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: General Comment 14
Key reports & guidance
Human Rights Translated: A Business Reference Guide [PDF], UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Intl. Business Leaders Forum, UN Global Compact & Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Faculty of Law, Monash University [Australia], 5 Dec 2008 – see p. 125, “Right to health”
Word from the Street: Toxicity and Health [PDF], Investor Environmental Health Network and Business for Social Responsibility, May 2008
Leadership Matters - The elimination of fatalities, Intl. Council on Mining & Metals, Jun 2009
Report to UN Human Rights Council - Addendum: Mission to Côte d’Ivoire and the Netherlands [PDF], Okechukwu Ibeanu, Special Rapporteur on adverse effects of movement & dumping of toxic & dangerous products & wastes on human rights, 3 Sep 2009
The Right to Health: A Duty for Whom? - Intl. Symposium Report [PDF], Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development, 2004
Abra Pampa: a Community Polluted, a Community Ignored - The Struggle for Environmental and Health Rights in Argentina [PDF], Human Rights Clinic at Univ. of Texas School of Law [USA], Aug 2009
Concerns, company responses & non-responses
The Resource Centre invites companies to respond to allegations of misconduct. Below are examples of allegations and company responses regarding health (including workplace health & safety). We also indicate when a company has not responded.
Global: No Dirty Gold campaign calls on 8 “laggard” jewellery retailers to sign on to social & environmental standards on gold sourcing, Mar 2006. Response from Fred Meyer Jewelers (part of Kroger), JC Penney, Jostens, QVC (part of Liberty Media), Wal-Mart. No response from Kmart/Sears, Rolex, Whitehall Jewellers.
Global: British American Tobacco has used its corporate responsibility efforts to resist international health laws to curb smoking, says report by Friends of the Earth, Christian Aid, ASH, May 2005. Response from British American Tobacco.
Ghana: Participants in workshop organised by Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining raise concerns about environmental & health impacts of mining operations, June 2005. Responses from AngloGold Ashanti, Newmont.
South Africa: Bench Marks Foundation report says platinum mines in North West Province owned by Anglo Platinum, Lonmin, Implats, Xstrata putting workers' & communities' health at risk, Jul 2007. Responses from Anglo Platinum, Implats, Xstrata. No response received from Lonmin.
USA: "Toxic 100" list of corporate air polluters, Univ. of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), May 2006. Responses from Alcoa, Archer Daniels Midland, DuPont, US Steel, GE, Eastman Kodak. Ford. No response received from ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Tyson Foods.
USA: "Toxic 100" list of corporate air polluters, Univ. of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), Apr 2008. Responses from Du Pont, Nissan, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bayer, Dow Chemical, Kodak, General Electric (GE), Arcelor Mittal, US Steel, ExxonMobil.
Positive steps by companies
China: World Economic Forum launches China Health Alliance, a partnership against TB and AIDS - companies involved include Accenture, BD, Constella Futures, Esquel, iKang, Karstadt Quelle, Marie Stopes, Pfizer, Swire Beverages
Lawsuits regarding health
Related stories and components
Author: IRIN - Nouvelles & analyses humanitaires de l'ONU, Bureau pour la coordination des affaires humanitaires
Plusieurs firmes pharmaceutiques se sont engagées à fournir au Burkina Faso des lots de médicaments d’une valeur de quelque 450 millions de dollars américains pour lutter contre certaines maladies « négligées », responsables de la cécité ou d’autres...
Author: War on Want
[Anglo American] is profiting from a pattern of global abuse and brutality against poor people, including the murder of opponents who say the firm’s mining operations threaten their livelihoods. In a new report War on Want cites the killing of...
- Related stories: War on Want report alleges Anglo American "profits from abuse, murders"
- Related in-depth areas: Complicity - an introduction Extractive industry Health - an introduction NGO Security issues & conflict zones - an introduction
- Related companies: Anglo American Anglo Platinum (part of Anglo American)
Author: Bench Marks Foundation for Southern Africa for Corporate Social Responsibility
In a recent study done by the Bench Marks Foundation for Southern Africa for Corporate Social Responsibility, health and safety threats have been revealed that are closely related to the emergence of informal settlements around the mines and the...
- Related stories: So. Africa: Report says platinum mines have serious health, safety risks for workers, host communities
- Related in-depth areas: Health - an introduction HIV/AIDS - an introduction
- Related companies: Anglo American Anglo Platinum (part of Anglo American) Impala Platinum Lonmin Lonmin Platinum (part of Lonmin) Xstrata (part of Glencore Xstrata)
Author: Andrew Gumbel, Independent [UK]
[Occidental Petroleum] has been accused of contaminating…the Peruvian Amazon where it…[has] drilled for oil…creating misery for the local Achuar people and widespread lead and cadmium poisoning. A report issued by a coalition of protest groups…accused...
- Related stories: Peru: Occidental Petroleum & Pluspetrol accused of toxic dumping in the Amazon Texaco/Chevron lawsuits (re Ecuador) Unocal lawsuit (re Myanmar) Show moreShow less
- Related in-depth areas: Environment - An introduction Health - an introduction Indigenous peoples - an introduction
- Related companies: Chevron Occidental Petroleum Pluspetrol Texaco (part of Chevron) Unocal (part of Chevron)
[PDF] Release of IPT [Indian People's Tribunal] Report on Kashipur: An Enquiry into Mining and Human Rights Violations in Kashipur, Orissa
Author: Indian People's Tribunal on Environment & Human Rights
An eight member multidisciplinary panel of the Indian People’s Tribunal headed by Justice S. N. Bhargava (Former Chief Justice Sikkim High Court) enquired into alleged human rights and environment violations created by a bauxite-mining project...
- Related stories: Indian People's Tribunal raises serious human rights & environmental concerns about proposed Uktal bauxite mine in Orissa (joint venture Hindalco & Alcan)
- Related in-depth areas: Environment - An introduction Health - an introduction India Indigenous peoples - an introduction Other authors, including governments
- Related companies: Aditya Birla Group Alcan (now Rio Tinto Alcan) Hindalco (part of Aditya Birla Group) Vedanta Resources
A new ActionAid report - Gold Rush - highlights how poor communities in Obuasi in Ghana are suffering serious environmental pollution and social problems as a result of gold mining by a subsidiary of the UK-based mining giant Anglo American... Local...
- Related stories: Ghana: ActionAid accuses AngloGold Ashanti of polluting water sources, exacerbating poverty
- Related in-depth areas: Development and poverty - an introduction Health - an introduction Linking development & human rights - an introduction
- Related companies: Anglo American AngloGold Ashanti
Author: World Economic Forum, WebWire
A new public-private partnership to address TB and AIDS in China is being launched today by the Global Health Initiative of the World Economic Forum. The China Health Alliance ...brings together select companies, the Chinese government, UN agencies...
Marathon Fights Malaria: Why an oil-and-gas giant is especially well suited to tackling a mosquito-borne disease [Equatorial Guinea]
Author: Christine Gorman, Time magazine
...when Marathon Oil decided in 2002 to expand its natural-gas operations to Bioko..., company managers focused their attention on the region's crippling malaria rate. Marathon concluded that protecting only its employees and contractors wouldn't be...
Author: No Dirty Gold Campaign
...[T]he No Dirty Gold campaign [has] identified your company as "lagging behind" on making commitments to supporting reform of the gold-mining industry... Through numerous letters we have raised with you our concerns about the serious human rights...
- Related stories: Letter to Jewelry Retailer "Laggards" from the No Dirty Gold Campaign
- Related in-depth areas: Health - an introduction
- Related companies: Fred Meyer Jewelers (part of Kroger) J.C. Penney Jostens Kmart (part of Sears) Kroger Liberty Media QVC (part of Liberty Media) Rolex Sears Walmart Whitehall Jewellers
Author: Jonathan Miller, Channel4 [UK]
...inside the mountain, down the shafts and rickety ladders, conditions are subhuman...Afrimex, has been importing cassiterite from Eastern Congo for more than twenty years. But Mr Kotecha [Afrimex owner] refused to go on camera, agreeing instead that...