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First Textbook on Business and Human Rights Aims to Close the Educational Gap for Next Generation of Leaders

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Business and human rights challenges are among the most complex, but least studied business challenges of the 21st century.

NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights Publishes Interdisciplinary Resource

In a global economy, multinational companies often operate in jurisdictions where governments are either unable or unwilling to uphold even the basic human rights of their citizens. As part of its work to educate the world’s future business leaders, the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights today released the first comprehensive, interdisciplinary textbook on the human rights challenges facing businesses – and how to approach solutions. 

Business and Human Rights: From Principles to Practice (Routledge), includes a thorough overview of current themes in the field and supporting case studies, and is geared toward an audience of business school, law and other social science faculty and students, as well as practitioners. The new resource shifts the conversation toward the responsibility of companies to address the protection of human rights as a fundamental component of their business operations.

“Business and human rights challenges are among the most complex, but least studied business challenges of the 21st century,” said Dorothée Baumann-Pauly, a co-editor of the textbook, who serves as research director for the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights. “The expectation for global corporations to behave ethically is not new. The research consolidated in this textbook responds to what was previously a vague expectation by helping to shape a distinct business and human rights field in both academia and in practice.”

The new textbook is an edited volume to which more than 30 interdisciplinary scholars and practitioners contributed, including Surya Deva, City University of Hong Kong; Ben Heineman, Harvard University, John Morrison, Institute for Human Rights and Business, and John Ruggie, Harvard University. The book release coincides with the Center for Business and Human Rights’ third anniversary this spring. Its content aligns with the Center’s mission to challenge and empower companies and future business leaders to make practical progress on human rights. The compilation of perspectives from law and business scholars, as well as practitioners, within the text provides an overview of current themes in the field and offers guidance for how companies can improve going forward. 

Added Justine Nolan, textbook co-editor and a visiting scholar at the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, “Academic institutions have a responsibility to ensure that future business leaders are prepared to address the human rights challenges encountered in today’s globalized, corporate business culture.”

The textbook examines the regulatory framework of the business and human rights debate and highlights the business and legal challenges faced by companies and stakeholders in improving respect for human rights, exploring topics such as:
  • Industry-specific human rights standards
  • Current mechanisms to hold corporations to account
  • Future challenges for business and human rights
Business and Human Rights: From Principles to Practice (Routledge) is available for purchase in paperback, hardback and e-book online at Amazon.com.

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The NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights’ mission is to challenge and empower companies and future business leaders to make practical progress on human rights.