Shattering illusions: rethinking human rights protection within the corporate social responsibility framework. The case of child labor in the agricultural sector

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Vernidaki, Alexandra Rafaela
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The research examines the potential corporate pretense when it comes to a company advertising its social responsibility, by manipulating its CSR program, as a strategy to deflect public attention away from human rights violations committed by or in complicity with the company itself, undermining in this way the advancement of BHR agenda. By using a statistical exploration and a case study analysis of three TNCs from the agricultural sector that have been accused of using child labor in their supply chains, it observes that a certain degree of pretense may be assumed, among other possible eventualities and explanations, given the discrepancy found between CSR commitments and ratings on the one hand, and corporate human rights performance, on the other. Therefore, it concludes that there is a possibility of corporations using their CSR programs as a tool with the aim of masking their involvement with human rights violations. Finally, it suggests that corporations should at least acknowledge the objective difficulties of identifying and fighting possible human rights violations occurring along their supply chains and mention relevant restrictions when advertising their endeavors to implement responsible business practices. Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility; Business & Human Rights; CSR instrumentalization; Child Labor
Second semester University: Adam Mickiewicz University Poznań
corporate responsibility, social responsibility, human rights, child labour, business