Multinational Corporations and Human Rights
"A true master class in the art of making the impossible possible." —Paul Polman
One of the most vexing human rights issues of our time has been how to protect the rights of individuals and communities worldwide in an age of globalization and multinational business. Indeed, from Indonesian sweatshops to oil-based violence in Nigeria, the challenges of regulating harmful corporate practices in some of the world’s most difficult regions long seemed insurmountable. Human rights groups and businesses were locked in a stalemate, unable to find common ground. In 2005, the United Nations appointed John Gerard Ruggie to the modest task of clarifying the main issues. Six years later, he had accomplished much more than that. Ruggie had developed his now-famous "Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights," which provided a road map for ensuring responsible global corporate practices. The principles were unanimously endorsed by the UN and embraced and implemented by other international bodies, businesses, governments, workers’ organizations, and human rights groups, keying a revolution in corporate social responsibility.
Just Business tells the powerful story of how these landmark “Ruggie Rules” came to exist. Ruggie demonstrates how, to solve a seemingly unsolvable problem, he had to abandon many widespread and long-held understandings about the relationships between businesses, governments, rights, and law, and develop fresh ways of viewing the issues. He also takes us through the journey of assembling the right type of team, of witnessing the severity of the problem firsthand, and of pressing through the many obstacles such a daunting endeavor faced.
Just Business is an illuminating inside look at one of the most important human rights developments of recent times. It is also an invaluable book for anyone wanting to learn how to navigate the tricky processes of global problem-solving and consensus-building and how to tackle big issues with ambition, pragmatism, perseverance, and creativity.
- March 2013
- 5.9 × 8.6 in
/ 304 pages
- Territory Rights: Worldwide
Endorsements & Reviews
“A must-read for anyone wishing to understand how to navigate the choppy and turbulent waters of the UN system and succeed. Just Business is the embodiment of the man who wrote it—sharp, intuitive, honest, pragmatic, witty, and humble—passionate in his resolve and commitment to human rights.” — Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever
“John Ruggie is a great scholar, leader, and humanitarian. Just Business recounts the story of one of the most effective human rights initiatives undertaken in recent memory in a way that makes it essential reading for activists, scholars, students, policy experts, and business leaders alike.” — Ann-Marie Slaughter, Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University
“By developing the ‘UN Guiding Principles,’ John Ruggie brought thoughtful and principled pragmatism to a topic of decades-long controversy. Just Business is a great guide for anyone taking on the task of reconciling interested and apparently irreconcilable parties and, indeed, for further progress in this field of business and human rights.” — Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, former chairman of Royal Dutch/Shell
“Business and human rights challenges became permanently implanted on the global policy agenda twenty years ago. However, there was no universally accepted framework to address or reduce corporate-related human rights harm. John Ruggie took up the challenge to fill that gap and achieved a great deal in a short space of time. It is all too easy when looking at seemingly intractable problems to believe that nothing can be done or that only governments or political leaders can act. Just Business shows us the opposite and underlines how all segments of society must play their part to achieve results that benefit all.” — Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General (1997-2006)
“Ruggie… provides a shining example to leaders that apparently insurmountable global issues are not lost causes.” — Publishers Weekly