Edited by Wesley Cragg
The chapters in this volume with two exceptions originated from a workshop organized by the Canadian Business Ethics Research Network (CBERN) held in April 2010. CBERN was formally launched in 2006 following receipt of a seven-year $2.1 million grant from the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council. The network’s mission is to support, facilitate, encourage and profile Canadian research in business ethics nationally and internationally. The idea for a workshop on business and human rights gained enthusiastic support for many reasons. The subject is one of emerging interest and concern among scholars. It has also emerged as a pressing issue on the part of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like Amnesty International, Global Witness and human rights organizations generally. It has become of equal interest for business leaders and leading business and professional firms in the private sector and of increasing interest for governments. One feature of this interest is that, unlike many other topics in the field of business ethics – corporate social responsibility, for example – the focus on the human rights responsibilities of business is a recent phenomenon. Interest was spurred in the first instance by NGOs in the early 1990s as increasing evidence of human rights abuses on the part of business firms operating particularly in developing countries began to surface. Accompanying this evidence was the reluctance of many governments to move to curb those abuses and the relative insensitivity of the corporate world and corporate leaders to their significance. As a result of NGO advocacy, the responsibility of...