Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Ronald Paul Hill and Ryan Langan
Chapter 16: A global perspective for responsibly serving customers
To do nothing [about global poverty] is to leave in place a fundamentally indefensible system of global distributive justice. (Brock 2005, p. 125) This volume on marketing and corporate social responsibility (CSR) necessitates a broad-based, human-rights global perspective that examines the obligations of businesses as articulated in three United Nations documents prepared by John Ruggie in his role as Special Representative of the Secretary General. They coalesce in expectations for transnational corporations and other business-related entities that are consonant with their Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The premise is that business enterprises are responsible for the specification and fulfillment of such obligations by virtue of their societal role. Additionally, their actions may have both positive and negative effects that reverberate within and beyond the boundaries of nation states in which they operate, helping or hindering progress by non-governmental and trans-governmental organizations. This perspective shows ‘the universality, indivisibility, interdependence, and interrelatedness of human rights’ (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2003/12). Within these dictates, businesses are required to support the economic rights of all citizens that impact their physical and mental health, including access to basic commodities such as food, water and shelter, as well as goods and services that improve quality of life, such as education and expressions of personal freedom. Nevertheless, the more specific aspirations associated with fair business practices, marketing and advertising involve issues of safety and efficacy of offerings rather than the ability to acquire them when needed or desired.
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