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Private Companies and the Public Interest: Why Corporations Should Welcome Global Human Rights Rules

In private, some multinational executives have started to question whether industry’s antagonism to regulation makes sense when it comes to human rights. They realize that only binding standards can ensure a level playing field and that, increasingly, the choice facing them is...between continuing to compete on an uneven, ever-shifting playing field and participating in the creation of universally binding and enforceable rules that apply equally to all companies. For most corporations, having clear, consistent rules would be preferable to being subjected to unfair competition and a confusing mix of standards that provides little guidance to companies and little comfort for victims of human rights abuse. This essay argues that enforceable global standards are desirable, inevitable, and, contrary to received wisdom, good for business. [refers to Gap, Shell, AngloGold Ashanti, Anglo American, Metalor]