Edited by Alice de Jonge and Roman Tomasic
Chapter 5: The Equator Principles and the ‘Business and Human Rights Debate’: hype or hope?
The chapter reviews the Equator Principles (EPs) initiative in light of the recent business and human rights debate. It shows that there is a substantial need for improving the EPs, especially, in terms of human-rights protection. In particular, the current ‘human-rights minimalism’ of the EPs – focusing solely on the negative duty to respect while neglecting positive duties to protect and realize human rights – needs to be overcome. What is required from a business-and-human-rights perspective are the introduction of (more) mandatory and legally binding elements into the EP framework as well as the strengthening of the governance structures of the EPs and its association – including adequate enforcement, monitoring and sanctioning mechanisms. The chapter reviews potential reform steps that should be taken to ‘harden’ this soft law transnational governance regime and to move towards a positive and leverage-based CSR-concept.
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