The business and human rights (BHR) movement has developed rapidly since the 1990s, in lockstep with spiralling corporate size, wealth, and influence. BHR attempts to hold corporations to account for human rights abuses. As such it does not address corporate power directly, and it is not of fundamental importance to BHR whether corporations are growing more powerful in relation to governments, society, or smaller businesses. Rising corporate power, does, however, have marked effects on access to human rights.
Corporations evidently hold the power to abuse human rights and to avoid accountability for these abuses. This is clear from numerous major cases, from the Bhopal gas leak to the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, both of which resulted in major fatalities and demonstrated the failures of current practices, regulation, and remedy. Environmental degradation with fatal consequences, modern...
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Barnett M, Duvall R (2005) Power in international politics. Int Organ 59(1):39–75
Bernaz N (2021) Conceptualizing corporate accountability in international law: models for a business and human rights treaty. Human Rights Rev 22(1):45–64
Birchall D (2021a) Corporate power over human rights: an analytical framework. Bus Human Rights J 6(1):42–66
Birchall D (2021b) Challenging the commodification of human rights: the case of the right to housing. Santa Clara J Int Law 19:1
Fuchs DA (2007) Business power in global governance. Lynne Rienner, Boulder
Hearne R (2020) Housing shock: the Irish housing crisis and how to solve it. Policy Press, Bristol
Macchi C (2021) The climate change dimension of business and human rights: the gradual consolidation of a concept of ‘climate due diligence’. Bus Human Rights J 6(1):93–119
Mikler J (2018) The political power of global corporations. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press
O’Kelly C (2019) Human rights and the grammar of corporate social responsibility. Soc Leg Stud 28(5):625–649
Editors and Affiliations
Section Editor information
Rights and permissions
© 2021 Springer Nature Switzerland AG
About this entry
Cite this entry
Birchall, D. (2021). Corporate Power over Human Rights. In: Poff, D.C., Michalos, A.C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-23514-1_1289-1
Publisher Name: Springer, Cham
Print ISBN: 978-3-319-23514-1
Online ISBN: 978-3-319-23514-1
eBook Packages: Springer Reference Business and ManagementReference Module Humanities and Social Sciences