Saturday, October 14, 2017

Recording of Seminar: "Governance Compliance in Business and Human Rights Across Global Production Chains" Given at the University of Manchester Alliance Business School 12 October 2017

I has been my great good fortune to be a Simon and Hallsworth Visiting Professor at the University of Manchester, Alliance Business School. In that capacity I recently gave a seminar entitled: "Governance Compliance in Business and Human Rights Across Global Production Chains." It was given as part of the Alliance Manchester Business School's marvelous Business and Human Rights Catalyst Initiative, led by Professor Ken McPhail, Alliance MBS' Director of Research, and coordinated by Dr Lara Bianchi. Great thanks to both for making this possible.  Special thanks to the commentators of the seminar presentation, Dr. John Haskell, and Dr. Karen Buckley whose incisive comments have provided much food for thought and windows on new avenues of research.  

We were fortunate to be able to record the Seminar (apologies no video). The recording of the Seminar can be accessed HERE.

The Concept Note for the Seminar follows along with the PowerPoints. The presentation was based on a recent publication, Larry Catá Backer, "Governance Polycentrism or Regulated Self-Regulation—Rule Systems for Human Rights Impacts of Economic Activity Where National, Private and International Regimes Collide," in Contested Collisions: Interdisciplinary Inquiries into Norm Fragmentation in World Society 198-225 (Kerstin Blome, Hannah Franzki, Andreas Fischer-Lescano, Nora Markard and Stefan Oeter, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2016), which may be accessed here

"Governance Compliance in Business and Human Rights Across Global Production Chains."
 Concept Note
Larry Catá Backer
12 October 2017

Globalization has produced a growing number of governance regimes beyond the reach of the domestic legal orders of states. These systems sometimes collide when their overlapping areas of competence lead to contradictory decisions or mutual obstruction. Global governance has become substantially messier than a generation ago. Where not so long ago, the general counsel and board of directors of a large multinational enterprise at the apex of a global production chain had little to worry about beyond the laws of the states within which production occurred, today those actors must consider not just national legal regimes but their potential extraterritorial effects, they must consider the governmentalization of their role across production chains, the applicability of soft law regimes and the legalization of its own internal governance rules. One of its most interesting nexus points of these emerging systemic collisions centers on the elaboration of governance frameworks for the human rights impacts of economic activity by states, enterprises and individuals. Put simply—this seminar focuses tries to what is the “law” that affects the operation of a multinational enterprise across its production chain? To that end, the seminar will consider the way in which the management of anarchy and the collision of governance regimes are being attempted through the operationalization of the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, and the three pillar framework from which it arose (state duty to protect, corporate responsibility to respect, and effective remedies for adverse effects of human rights), and its incorporation into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The seminar will also consider the structures and premises of the emerging governance framework built into the Guiding Principles, and its points of collision with law based systems, with other private systems of human rights based governance and with the internal systems of enterprise governance. The seminar will then consider the ramifications of collision, and the possibilities for systemic equilibrium and specifically what this means for stakeholders—corporate counsel, outside counsel, NGOs, states and others—as they seek to build order in a polycentric and dynamic governance order.

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