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

With the surge in economic growth in the global-north vis-a-vis social and economic inequalities in the global south (north-south dichotomy), there is an increasing requirement for critical research and an examination of the policy implications with respect to human rights in emerging economies. This paper draws on the concept of convergence and institutional theories to enhance our understanding of how multinational corporations (MNCs) fulfil their profit maximisation agendas using capitalist principles; and the extent to which these ideologies produce 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 to 2017. We verified 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 the International Labour Organisation (ILO). This raises questions about the effectiveness of these programmes for CSR compliance. We contribute to the CSR/sustainability literature by providing new
insights into the nature and location of human rights violations committed by MNCs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111689
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume280
Early online date18 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2021

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