Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 109, Issue 3, pp 289–299 | Cite as

Business Policies on Human Rights: An Analysis of Their Content and Prevalence Among FTSE 100 Firms



The new millennium has witnessed a growing concern over the impact of multinational enterprises (MNEs) on human rights. Hence, this article explores (1) how wide-spread corporate policies on human rights are amongst large corporations, specifically the FTSE 100 constituent firms, (2) whether any sectors are particularly active in designing human rights policies and (3) where corporations have adopted such policies what their content is. In terms of adoption rates of human rights policies, evidence of exemplary approaches in individual companies contrasts with a less satisfactory engagement pattern across the sample, as 42.8% of firms do not seem to address human rights at all. With regard to the content of corporate human rights policies, the study found shallow commitments to dominate, where companies focus on a narrow range of negative rights, i.e. on respecting human rights, rather than positive ones, i.e. initiatives to protect or fulfil human rights.


Human rights Corporate social responsibility Multi-national enterprises UN Declaration of Human Rights 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Management, Royal HollowayUniversity of LondonEgham, SurreyUK

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