Saturday, May 06, 2017

Two Calls for Papers From Karin Buhmann (Copenhagen Business School) on Issues in Business and Human Rights

(Pix  © Larry Catá Backer 2017)

My friend Karin Buhmann, Professor, Dr.scient.adm. & PhD (law) and Professor with special responsibilities in Business & Human Rights, Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC) Copenhagen Business School, has announced two quite interesting calls for papers. She writes:
One is for a special issue of the Nordic Journal on Human Rights (NJHR), on research methods in regard to Business & Human Rights. (Please note that it is not a precondition for submission that authors attend the paper-development workshop noted in the CfP. Unfortunately some internet sites that make mention of this CfP incorrectly state that attendance is a precondition for manuscript submission.) This call may be of particular interest to scholars (including young scholars) who have been doing research in which they have elaborated research methods and explained methodological issues in regard to BHR and its often interdisciplinary character. Published by Taylor&Francis, the NJHR is a well established and highly reputed international Human Rights journal.

The other is for a special issue of the Journal Competition & Change on the topic of Business conduct and Human Rights in Global Value Chains. A paper-development workshop for authors whose submissions have been shortlisted for revision and re-submission is being organised at Aarhus University (Denmark) back-to-back with a seminar on Global Value Chains, tentatively on 5 and 6 December 2017. Authors invited to take part will be informed in early November. Here too, attending the workshop is not a condition for submission.
 The announcements follow.

Nordic Journal of Human Rights
Call for Papers
Special Issue on Business & Human Rights Research Methods

The Nordic Journal of Human Rights invites submissions for its special issue on research methods related to Business & Human Rights (BHR) to be published in 2018.

With the adoption and endorsement of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) in 2011, respect for human rights is now an operational concern for business enterprises. In 2008, the Nordic Journal of Human Rights published one of the first special issues on the subject of Business and Human Rights (BHR). Since then, the BHR field has evolved, bringing the interdisciplinary nature of the field further to the forefront of theory as well as practice.

In interdisciplinary BHR research, methodological approaches vary, each embedded in its respective academic discipline. This entrenchment poses a challenge for scholars of law, business ethics, management and other fields who wish to have a conversation across disciplines and understand the practical developments and theoretical evolution of BHR.

This Special Issue seeks to promote the interdisciplinary potential of BHR research by inviting contributions that develop new methods for research and analysis, or pragmatically apply methods across academic disciplines, bridging the division among academic disciplines. We invite submission of original research that display methods for BHR research, or methodological models, or theoretical explanations of the challenges and opportunities in BHR research methods. The following list is an indicative, but not exhaustive, list of possible areas for submissions:

Analysing human rights as operational concern for business enterprises
--What data is relevant to analyse how businesses deal with human rights in their operations, and how can such data be identified?
--How can we reliably evaluate corporate processes such as human rights impact assessments (HRIA) or human rights due diligence (HRDD) that address human rights issues?

--How can we assess how human rights issues are effectively communicated to businesses and manager so that they become embedded in their practices?
--How to measure the effectiveness of measures taken by business enterprises to address human rights problems be assessed? Or to measure a business’s changes of 'mindset' corporate culture with respect to human rights?

--How to take account of an alleged cultural embeddedness of human rights in analysis of BHR, for example in relation to supply chains and home states of multinational enterprises?
--Prospects and limits of risk management based approaches to human rights due diligence?
--How does BHR influence the management of stakeholder relations (for example, inspiration from methods from human rights based development, or from human rights to participation in decision-making and free, prior and informed consent)?

--How can investors with ethical or socially responsible investment policies assess human rights impacts of their investments in accordance with the OECD’s due diligence requirements?
--To which extent are human rights embedded in investment decisions? Do investors take into account measurement tools such as the "Corporate Human Rights Benchmark" (CHRB)? How can we measure the influence of investor decisions on corporate practice?
Analysing the mutual influence between corporate activity, social expectations, and the development of law, so-called “soft law” and other normative frameworks
--How could and does jurisprudence on BHR take into account non-judicial remedies and operational level remedies?
--Are there any cultural specificities with regard to appropriate remedy? How do we identify and assess such specificities, and how to take account of them in analysis of the human rights appropriateness of remedy?

--How to assess the mutual influence between emergent soft and hard regulatory schemes on BHR and other transnational business governance instruments that relate to human rights?
--How can business ethics complement the emergent soft and hard regulatory schemes on BHR to support their influence on corporate practices?

--What is the relationship between operational risk management standard, human rights due diligence under the UNGP or OECD Guidelines for MNEs and legal standards of care?
--How can international law research benefit from or develop methodology based on emergent interdisciplinary BHR research?

Guidelines for submission
Full-length manuscripts are due by 21 August 2017 at the latest. Articles should range between 6,000 and 8,000 words including footnotes and should conform to NJHR’s style and referencing guidelines (OSCOLA Law style). Authors can submit papers online, using the Editorial Manager website or by sending the manuscript in MS Word format directly to

Articles judged suitable for consideration will be reviewed in a double blind peer review process. The guest authors plan to hold a paper development workshop in June 2017 (details to follow on the journal’s website from around mid-February 2017). For further questions or inquiries please contact .

Guest editors
Karin Buhmann, Professor of Business & Human Rights, Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Denmark Björn Fasterling, Professor of Law and Business Ethics, EDHEC Business School, Lille, France
Aurora Voiculescu, Senior Lecturer in Socio-legal studies and Human Rights, University of Westminster

Special issue on business conduct and human rights in global value chains
Guest editors: Karin Buhmann
Professor, Business and Human Rights, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Mark Taylor
Research Director, Fafo Research Foundation, Norway
Elisa Giuliani
Full Professor of Management, University of Pisa, Italy
Topic of the Special Issue 

The current wave of globalization has witnessed intense competition across countries for investment, putting downward pressure on wages and working conditions. Global compa- nies have long taken advantage of wage differentials and weak regulation to keep costs low (Krugman et al. 2014). At the same time, concerns with labour standards and human rights are galvanizing corporate change (Ruggie, 2013; Standing, 2014). Labour and human rights issues are some of the key elements of the adverse or even perverse impacts of competition on social sustainability, the strengths and weaknesses of corporate self-regulation, and hybrid codes on promoting change in business practices for increased social sustainability. Competition in global value chains has been identified as a causal factor in generation of negative impacts on human rights (Anner, 2015). 

While human rights abuses may occur in many sectors, two sectors in particular stand out: textile/apparels, with a strong focus on production in parts of Asia; and information technology (IT), with a strong focus on rare earth minerals sourced from parts of Africa and Asia (Ali, 2014). From the exposure of Nike’s labour abuses in factories in South East Asia in the 1990s to the Rana Plaza collapse, the social costs of downward pressure on prices, economic exploitation of local labour market conditions and weak enforcement institutions have been powerful reminders of social risks prevalent in global value chains (Locke & Romis, 2007; Spar & LaMure, 2003). Similarly, forced labour and a range of other human rights violations of individuals and communities have arisen in the production of conflict minerals in the supply chains of IT products (such as infringement on human rights to land, cultural practices, health and personal integrity and freedom). 

Concerns with such impacts and risks have led to the emergence of several hybrid codes with strong human rights elements, as well as requirements on production chain transpar- ency and the evolution of new products (such as Fairphone, a smartphone brand that aims to control against adverse impacts in the production process and reduce environmental impacts of waste (Martin-Ortega et al., 2015)). Simultaneously, the user-chain of IT productshas raised concerns about privacy and corporate as well as state surveillance. Research shows that solely relying on codes of conduct often fails due to forced compliance, top- down implementation of Western standards, weak auditing practices and inconsistent inter- pretation and application (Lund-Thomsen & Lindgreen, 2014; Rasche, 2010). 

Recognizing that the bulk of international trade takes places within companies’ value chains, campaigns by civil society and organised workers have sought to promote respon- sible business practice by influencing consumer taste, investor preference and the supply chain management by multinationals (Ruggie, 2013; Taylor, 2013). Yet, scholarly attention to the complexities of responsible supply chain management has been slow to develop. Even less is understood about how large-scale investors may use their privileged position of influ- ence as a lever for change throughout their chains of business relations. Given that many codes of conduct on human rights for business are based on international human rights law or international labour law, one may also ask whether these codes sufficiently take account of locally grounded human rights issues (such as child labour, recognized to be a highly complex socially and culturally embedded phenomenon (Bourdillon et al., 2010; Kolk and van Tulder, 2004)) or perceptions of cultural embeddedness of human rights (De Sousa Santos, 2002). 

Against this backdrop, recent years’ expansion in global codes on with strong human rights elements to guide business to respect human rights (see below) offers a timely oppor- tunity to assess the impacts of such codes with regard to global value chains and derive insights on the challenges of supply chain management. A special issue of ‘Competition and Change’ on this topic offers an opportunity to contribute to the expansion of the emergent interdisciplinary scholarship on Business and Human Rights in political economy research. Doing this with a critical perspective will provide opportunities for presenting a different type of scholarly research in this area than what is offered by business ethics, legal or organization journals in which Business and Human Rights research typically appears. 

More specifically, 2017 is a good time to assess the impacts and effectiveness of a series of global codes related to Business and Human Rights. It has been five years since a small but influential series of interrelated public or hybrid standards were adopted, defining respon- sible business conduct at the global level. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), and OECD’s revised Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises were both in place by mid-2011. Both adopted a risk-based due diligence approach, calling on companies as well as investors to identify and manage their adverse impacts so as to prevent or if needed mitigate them. As this includes suppliers as well as users of products, the due diligence test is relevant to a large number of global production processes, value chains and investments.
Around the same time as the UNGPs and the OECD’s revised Guidelines were adopted, the United States’ Dodd-Frank requirement on IT companies for transparency about the imports of conflict minerals was made operational. 2017 is the five-year anniversary of the International Standardization Organisation (ISO) 26000 Social Responsibility Guidance Standard, as well as of an update of the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability to align the latter with the UNGPs. Subsequently, although an increased number of firms have adopted human rights policies in their companies and supply chains, the degree of adaptation is much less extensive in entire value chains. The actual impact of these normative instruments and the norms of conduct that they endorse are under-studied. 

This special issue offers an opportunity to contribute to ground-breaking empirical insights and theoretical discussion in the cross-fields of research on the political economy, competition and development studies, and Business and Human Rights around the basic question: Have the changes in global norms governing responsible business conduct had any impacts on global value chains in relation to business impacts on human rights? 

The special issue understands human rights that may be impacted by business in accord- ance with the UNGPs, which emphasize that businesses may cause adverse effects on the full range of human rights (that is, civil, cultural, economic, political and social) and refers to the International Bill of Human Rights and ILO’s core labour standards as the minimum base line that businesses should consider in their efforts to respect human rights. The full range of human rights informs the UN Global Compact’s Principles 1 and 2. Core labour standards comprise the freedom of association and right to collective bargaining, the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour, the effective elimination of child labour and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. The core labour standards are also considered human rights, covered by ILO’s fundamental conventions and forming the foundation of the UN Global Compact’s Principles 3 to 6. Similarly, many labour rights that are covered by ILO’s non-fundamental conventions are also of relevance to human rights under the International Bill of Rights, such as human rights in work and human rights related to health and education. 

This special issue invites contributions that critically address change – for the better or for the worse – in global value chains with a focus on the textile/apparel and IT sectors. The value chains in these sectors are global, human rights problems in production and sourcing are particularly widespread in South and South East Asia for textiles and in the Great Lakes region in Africa for sourcing of rare earth minerals. While textiles and IT products are used globally, value chains that involve human rights codes tend to be directed at markets in the Global North, many of which are members of the OECD and hence subject to the require- ments of OECDs Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and to markets’ expectations on human rights observance. Similarly, much institutional investment in the sectors derives from organizations in OECD states, which are also subject to those Guidelines. This per- spective underscores the need to understand the global diversities that influence or challenge the application of human rights codes in global value chains. For this special issue, submis- sions addressing globally sourced products and value chains are welcomed. For the purpose of focus, analyses that involve production in Asia and Africa, and investment from or product use in OECD countries are particularly encouraged. Submissions addressing value chain management in a comparative perspective, such as across the two sectors or across countries or regions are also encouraged.
Authors may wish to explore issues such as:
  • .  Factors related to competition that act as drivers for companies to adopt or revise internal or external codes of conduct in relation to human rights
  • .  The role of sector-wide competition for access to finance from institutional investors that are committed to socially responsible investment to raise the bar for business impacts on human rights (included but not limited to working conditions)
  • .  Whether and how norms of responsible business conduct and human rights serve as a parameter of competition within a sector?
  • .  The factors that influence companies to adopt certain global codes and reasons for pre- ferring them over others.
  • .  The extent to which current codes with an intended global applicability reflect locally grounded human rights issues or perceptions of cultural embeddedness
  • .  What is the relationship or mutual complementarity between competition and locally grounded practices (e.g., child labour) that are problematic from the perspective of human rights codes, and how may the codes promote change in local practices?
  • .  Under what circumstances may codes contribute to transforming practices based on relativistic conceptions of human rights into practices that accord with universal human rights standards?
  • .  Does the risk-based due diligence concept adopted by the UNGPs, OECD’s Guidelines and ISO 26000 SR Guidance provide companies with clearly defined expectations from buyers, investors or other business relations as regards the identification and management of adverse social impacts?
  • .  How do companies transform risk-based due diligence guidance into management prac- tices, how do they monitor their impacts in accordance with the adopted due diligence process and how do they follow-up to keep their due diligence processes relevant and updated?
  • .  Are local or regional political economies conducive to business uptake of the global norms on responsible business conduct in relation to business impacts on human rights?
  • .  What are the challenges, obstacles or drivers in local or regional political economic insti- tutions for businesses to internalize external expectations on their human rights impacts?
  • .  Changes in company or sector self-regulation based on the UNGPs or other recent global norms on responsible business conduct (such as the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, including labour rights and the integration of risk-based due diligence in
    business practices or investment agreements)
  • .  Effectiveness of changes in company or sector self-regulation in response to specific events
    related to business and human rights (e.g. the Rana Plaza collapse, the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, or National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights)
  • .  Sectoral processes where UNGPs might have had an impact (e.g., conflict minerals pro- duction and sourcing, impacts of automation), or
  • .  Business and human rights in relation to ‘sharing/gig economy’ (technology platforms like Uber and AirBnB that enable ‘sharing’ as a new economy, but also create new relation- ships between owners, workers and service providers, including raising risks of precarious work).
    Empirical or evidence-based articles, based on either quantitative or qualitative data, are particularly welcomed. Theoretical and conceptual articles are also accepted.

  • Timeline for submission process and management of peer review process
    Articles will be 7500–10,000 word, including references.
    April 2017: Opening of Submission for full papers to
    Competition and Change
    T1: 31 October 2017: Closing of Submission for full papers.
    T2: 1 November 2017–End February 2018: Peer review; feedback from peer review and

    editor decisions on selection of manuscripts.
    T3: 15 April 2018: Revision of full papers and final acceptance.

Manuscripts should be submitted directly online at: cach. Please choose the option for ‘business and human rights’ special issue when submitting your manuscript. Kindly note that submissions must be formatted according to the Competition and Change style guidelines which can be found here: https://uk.sagepub. com/en-gb/eur/journal/competition-change#submission-guidelines. The guest editors will explore opportunities to organize a paper improvement workshop within T2 where papers that stand a good chance of being accepted for the special issue are presented and discussed. In this context, the guest editors will explore opportunities for such a workshop to be organized in the context of a research conference to be held during 2017 under the H2020 project ‘SMART’ (Sustainable Market Actors for Responsible Trade), hosted at the University of Oslo

Ali SH (2014) Social and environmental impact of the rare earth industries. Resources 3(1): 123–134. Anner M (2015) Labor control regimes and worker resistance in global supply chains. Labor History
56(3): 292–307.
Bourdillon M, Levison D, Myers L, et al. (2010)
Rights and Wrongs of Children’s Work.
New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
De Sousa Santos (2002) Towards a multi-cultural conception of human rights. In: Hernandez-Truyol E
(ed.) Moral Imperialism: A Critical Anthology. New York: New York University Press, pp.39–60. Kolk A and van Tulder R (2004) Ethics in international business: multinational approaches to child
labor. Journal of World Business 39(1): 49–60.
Krugman P, Obstfeld M, and Melitz M (2014).
International Economics: Theory and Policy, Global
Edition. 10th ed. Online: Pearson.
Locke R and Romis M (2007) Improving work conditions in a global supply chain.
MIT Sloan
Management Review 48(2): 54–62.
Lund-Thomsen P and Lindgreen A (2014) Corporate social responsibility in global value chains –
Where are we now? where are we going? Journal of Business Ethics 123(1): 11–22.
Martin-Ortega O, Outhwaite O and Rook W (2015) Buying power and human rights in the supply chain: Legal options for socially responsible public procurement of electronic goods.
International Journal of Human Rights 19(3): 341–368.
Rasche A (2010) The limits of corporate responsibility standards.
Business Ethics: A European Review
19(3): 280–291.
Ruggie J (2013)
Just Business - Multinational Corporations and Human Rights. Boston: W.W. Norton &
Spar DL and La Mure LT (2003) The power of activism: Assessing the impact of NGOs on global
business’. California Management Review 45(3): 78–101.
Standing G (2014)
The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class. New York: Bloomsbury.
Taylor MB (2013) Beyond ‘Beyond Compliance’: How human rights is transforming CSR.
In: Middtun A (ed.) CSR and Beyond – A Nordic Perspective. Oslo: Cappelen Damm Akademisk, pp.240–258.

No comments: