Corporate accountability and the role of the state: requirements for improving corporate Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) after the endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP)
Since their adoption in 2011, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) have become a focal point for the debate on corporate liability, as they articulate the role of States and corporations for human rights adverse impacts. However, the UNGP present clear shortcomings in developing corporate accountability. They do not fully reflect the existing debate on States’ extraterritorial obligations; fail to refine the legal status of corporations as duty bearers; and as a result, they do not extend a parent company’s liability to the supply chain. In this regard, this research aims at ascertaining the changing role of the States in improving corporate responsibility after endorsing the UNGP. The absence of corporate legal obligations decreases the effectiveness of Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) capable of ensuring corporate responsibility, as indicated in the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark’s analysis. Despite the limitations of the UNGP, some States are taking action to identify existing gaps and establish policy coherence, support mechanisms and relevant legislation. However, legislative efforts are seen as the weakest part among State actions. This thesis emphasizes the importance of corporate mandatory due diligence; regular monitoring of the HRDD process by independent organizations; and the development of an integral approach in different legal fields. Moreover, this research emphasizes the importance of international cooperation to improve access to remedy in host States and the need to create an enabling environment to solve corporate internal and external challenges to the practical implementation of HRDD.