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International Documents on Corporate Responsibility

Edited by Stephen Tully

International Documents on Corporate Responsibility includes the principal international, regional and national instruments drafted by intergovernmental organisations or states as well as codes of conduct formulated by industry associations, trade unions and non-governmental organisations. The coverage includes the fields of human rights, international criminal and environmental law, labour standards, international trade, armed conflict, sustainable development, corruption, consumer protection and corporate governance. Each document is accompanied by a brief explanatory commentary outlining the historical origins of the instrument, the principal actors involved, controversial negotiation issues, applicable implementation procedure, and identifies further reference material.
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Chapter 113: USA: Model Business Principles, 1996


Commentary: The Principles (available through were formulated by the US Department of Commerce in consultation with business and human rights groups. They encourage all international businesses to adopt and implement voluntary codes of conduct. Recognizing the positive role of US business in upholding and promoting adherence to universal standards of human rights, the Administration encourages all businesses to adopt and implement voluntary codes of conduct for doing business around the world that cover at least the following areas: 1. 2. Provision of a safe and healthy workplace; Fair employment practices, including avoidance of child and forced labour and avoidance of discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, or religious beliefs; and respect for the right of association and the right to organize and bargain collectively; Responsible environmental protection and environmental practices; Compliance with US and local laws promoting good business practices, including laws prohibiting illicit payments and ensuring fair competition; Maintenance, through leadership of all levels, of a corporate culture that respects free expression consistent with legitimate business concerns, and does not condone political coercion in the workplace; that encourages good corporate citizenship and makes a positive contribution to the communities in which the company operates; and where ethical conduct is recognized, valued, and exemplified by all employees. 3. 4. 5. In adopting voluntary codes of conduct that reflect these principles, US companies should serve as models and encourage similar behaviour by their partners, suppliers, and subcontractors. Adoption of codes of conduct reflecting these principles is voluntary. Companies are...

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