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MSI Integrity report finds corporate oversight initiatives fail to detect & remedy abuses; calls for more effective regulation of corporations

"A decade of research finds systemic failures in leading global corporate human rights initiatives," 16 July 2020

The Institute for Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Integrity (MSI Integrity) [...] released a report concluding that global efforts by some of the world's largest multinational corporations, governments, and civil society organizations have failed in their goal of protecting against human rights abuses by corporations.

The report, Not Fit-for-Purpose: The Grand Experiment of Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives in Corporate Accountability, Human Rights and Global Governance [...] concludes that [...] [v]oluntary regulation, even when it involves civil society organizations, is insufficient for detecting corporate human rights abuses, holding corporations to account for harm, or providing access to remedy. [...]

Some of the key insights in the report include: (1) many MSIs set weak or narrow standards that overlook the root causes of abuses; (2) MSIs employ inadequate mechanisms to detect abuses and uphold their standards; and (3) MSIs do not offer access to effective remedy.

Almost a third of the 40 MSIs examined in the study did not have any grievance mechanisms for workers or communities to directly report abuses or resolve complaints. Of those that did, nearly all failed to meet the internationally recognized criteria for effective access to remedy established by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, such as being transparent, accessible and equitable.

The report identifies several lessons to be learned for future human rights interventions. These include that rights holders—the workers, communities, and individuals affected by a business— need to be at the center of the solutions that aim to improve their lives and livelihoods, rather than the top-down approaches used by MSIs. [...]

The report and related materials are available from www.msi-integrity.org/not-fit-for-purpose.

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