Building site in BangladeshPhoto: SOMO

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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Rights, Remedy and Accountability

Corporations have a responsibility to respect human rights wherever they are active. Yet business-related human rights and environmental abuses remain all too common. Across the globe, people face enormous challenges in securing respect for their rights and receiving remedy for corporate-related abuses.

Strong corporate accountability frameworks

SOMO seeks to address the global governance gaps that allow multinational corporations to operate with impunity. We push for strong corporate accountability frameworks that include effective grievance mechanisms. We monitor the implementation of international normative frameworks, including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, to address the conduct of multinational enterprises in relation to human rights and the environment.

Support in filing complaints

We specialise on the use of non-judicial grievance mechanisms for addressing human rights, environmental, and social abuses. Victims of corporate misconduct are often confronted with weak governance, inadequate legal frameworks, and poor implementation of laws and regulations. In this context, non-judicial grievance mechanisms can offer a means of accessing remedy, particularly for people living in areas where the rule of law is weak or non-existent.

We support workers, communities, individuals, and civil society organisations in filing complaints using mechanisms of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and international financial institutions. Based on our experience with supporting complainants who seek access to remedy, SOMO advocates for improving the accessibility, effectiveness, and consistency of grievance mechanisms at the (international) policy level.

Corporations have a responsibility to respect human rights wherever they are active. Yet business-related human rights and environmental abuses remain all too common. Across the globe, people face enormous challenges in securing respect for their rights and receiving remedy for corporate-related abuses.

Strong corporate accountability frameworks

SOMO seeks to address the global governance gaps that allow multinational corporations to operate with impunity. We push for strong corporate accountability frameworks that include effective grievance mechanisms. We monitor the implementation of international normative frameworks, including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, to address the conduct of multinational enterprises in relation to human rights and the environment.

 

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