Protecting human rights is not only a job for governments and non-profits, argues Mary Robinson, honorary B Leader and former President of Ireland. While good government practices providing for rule of law are critical to protect people’s welfare, business must also play a role, as she explains in this interview as part of the Carnegie Council Centennial Thought Leaders Forum.
At a minimum, corporations must do no harm, and hold governments accountable for providing stable, trustworthy, transparent systems under which they can operate. But it is Robinson’s belief that business must go even further, actively adopting a role in the protection of human rights by joining international compacts to voluntarily regulate their conduct, and move past public-relations-focused efforts to integrate fundamental human rights principles into their organizational cores.
While the ethical case for defending human rights alone is compelling, there is a business case to be made as well: as Robinson puts it, “meeting shareholder and stakeholder expectations and maintaining and motivating staff performance are all good reasons for taking human rights concerns seriously.”
Read the full interview here.