Multinational corporations and human rights violations in emerging economies: does commitment to social and environmental responsibility matter?

Subhan Ullah, Kweku Adams, Dawda Adams, Rexford Attah-Boakye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The surge in economic growth in the global-north vis-a-vis social and economic inequalities in the global-south (north-south dichotomy) has led to critical research and policy implications for human rights considerations in emerging economies. This paper draws on the concept of convergence and institutional theories to enhance our understanding of how multinational corporation’s (MNCs) fulfil their profit maximisation agenda using capitalist principles; and the extent to which these ideologies produces human rights violations in emerging economies. Using multiple data sources from the Human Rights Watch, our study provides a comprehensive list of various human rights violations perpetrated by MNCs from 2002 - 2017. We uncovered 273 violations by 160 MNCs mostly from developed countries. More than 90% of our sample firms have CSR/sustainability committees, are signatories to the UN Global Compact and have reported compliance with International Labour Organization (ILO). This raises questions about the effectiveness of these programmes. We contribute to the CSR/sustainability literature by providing new insights into the nature and location of human rights abuses committed by MNCs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 18 Nov 2020

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