“Traduttore, Traditore?” Translating Human Rights into the Corporate Context” by Marisa McVey, John Ferguson, and François-Régis Puyou, published in the Journal of Business Ethics, critically examines the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in corporate settings.

This overview of the paper explains how the authors delve into how human rights are translated into the corporate context, particularly addressing the “resonance dilemma,” which involves making these concepts resonate within corporate environments without losing their original intent and impact.

Through qualitative case studies of an oil and gas company and a bank, the research provides empirical insights into how human rights are managed across different corporate sectors. Key challenges include balancing human rights with profit-driven goals and the economic pressures internal actors face. Strategies to make human rights palatable involve using the UN Guiding Principles’ (UNGPs) legitimacy and flexible language.

However, the translation process can dilute human rights’ transformative power and displace rights-holder experiences. External experts play a critical role in navigating these complexities, maintaining independence while influencing corporate policies. The findings emphasise the practicalities of implementing human rights due diligence (HRDD) and highlight varying degrees of success in translating human rights into corporate policies. The paper suggests that translating human rights into corporate contexts can limit their capacity to critique corporate actions radically.

Future research should focus on the practical implementation of the UNGPs and the role of external experts in shaping corporate human rights practices. Understanding these points is crucial for businesses to effectively integrate human rights into their operations, balancing ethical standards with business objectives.

If you’d like to explore this topic more – see the uploaded paper in full.

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Traduttore, Traditore? Translating Human Rights.pdf
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