What should companies do when states offer prime land on a platter?

Author: Salil Tripathi, Wambui Kimathi, Institute for Human Rights & Business, in Guardian [UK], Published on: 6 March 2012

[F]or...companies investing in Africa, what...should be done when states offer prime land on a platter?...To ensure that the process of acquiring or using land is transparent, and in keeping with international human rights principles, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation has launched an effort to develop guidelines on responsible governance of tenure of land and other natural resources...[T]he reality remains that states often fail to protect human rights. So what should companies do? In an effort to provide practical guidance based on international human rights principles and standards, the Institute for Human Rights and Business embarked in 2009 on a project on business responsibilities towards use and acquisition of land. This initiative has resulted in a set of draft guidelines...The guidelines...provide step-by-step advice to businesses to help them avoid conduct that undermines human rights. Such steps won't be sufficient to ensure corporate respect for human rights in all cases, but they are a necessary stage in an ongoing process of due diligence that will help companies ensure they respect the dignity of local communities.

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