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Corporate accountability and regulation

Corporations are responsible and should be held accountable for the impact of their business activities on people, societies and the environment. A growing number of initiatives and standards try to stimulate corporate accountability, from corporate codes of conduct and certification schemes to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. SOMO evaluates the effectiveness of these initiatives by examining the degree to which they actually contribute to responsible corporate behaviour, corporate accountability, and access to remedy. Our conclusion – based on more than thirty years of research on corporate accountability – is that voluntary initiatives and guidelines fall short. Firm measures are needed to ensure that businesses respect human rights, labour rights, and the environment, and that victims of abuse obtain the remedy they deserve. For this reason SOMO advocates for binding enforceable regulations and laws, effective judicial and non-judicial grievance mechanisms, and a strengthened international legal framework to protect human rights in the context of business operations.

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