The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council’s Protect, Respect and Remedy (‘Three Pillar’) Framework on Business and Human Rights and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (GPs) represent a significant marker in the contemporary evolution of norms on the responsibility and accountability of corporate actors for their social, environmental and human rights impacts. Building on earlier work, this chapter provides an updated exposition and critical assessment of developments since 2011 in law, policy and practice that have sought, in line with the GPs, to
advance corporate respect human rights. First the chapter briefly addresses the origins of the GPs and
their standing in relation to wider principles and standards of international human rights law (Section 1). It then explains the notion of corporate human rights due diligence as the principal mechanism through which businesses are envisaged, by the GPs, to realise respect for human rights. Here it relates measures being taken by governments and others to legalise corporate human rights due diligence requirements, such as due diligence and supply chain laws recently adopted in France, Germany, Norway and prospectively by the European Union (Section 2). In Section 3, the chapter addresses in turn three elements of the corporate human rights due diligence process: human rights impact assessment (HRIA, Section 3.1); companies’ integration of the findings of human rights risk
identification and the exercise of leverage (Section 3.2); and corporate human rights reporting (Section 3.3), where we address links to ‘ESG’ investment practices. In conclusion, given the continuing scale and severity of business-related human rights abuses, but also uncertainties about design and impacts of reviewed regulatory measures, the chapter calls for intensified scholarly inquiry
and debate in corporate responsibility research.