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25 Jan 2016

Georges Enderle, Business and Human Rights Journal, Volume 1, Issue 1

Book Review: ‘Business and Human Rights’ from Donaldson to Ruggie – A Review of a Classic Book: Thomas Donaldson, The Ethics of International Business (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989) pp 224.

…[O]ne may recall several…events that happened in…1989…[T]hese events…brought about enormous opportunities for global expansion…However, as John Ruggie reported later, there has been a ‘fundamental institutional misalignment’…[which] has created ‘the permissive environment within which blameworthy acts by corporations may occur without adequate sanctioning or reparation’…Therefore…several initiatives have been launched to address the ethical challenges facing international business…Against this brief historical backdrop, I would like to explore and acknowledge Donaldson’s contribution to the evolving discussion on business and human rights, using his book of 1989 as the starting point and the United Nations Framework…with its Guiding Principles (GPs), developed by Ruggie for the UN Human Rights Council, as the current point of arrival. By following this trajectory, I intend to highlight the strengths of Donaldson’s project, which has stood the test of time, to discuss some critical points on the way to the UN Framework, and to conclude with a few open questions for further scrutiny and elaboration...

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