Corporate Decision Making in the Human Rights Context: Using Proportionality as a Supplement to the Guiding Principles
This essay submission authored by Connor Bildfell was awarded the Don & Kathy Sorochan Scholarship. For more information, visit here.
Proportionality is a conceptual framework through which we seek to attain an appropriate relationship between human rights (and other interests) and other considerations that may justify limitations on the former. This article explores whether, on both normative and practical levels, the principle of proportionality can justifiably be used as a supplement to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in guiding corporate decision making and its impacts on human rights. This article concludes that proportionality, due to compelling conceptual and practical limitations, cannot stand alone as the sole source of guidance in corporate decision making; proportionality can, however, serve as a useful supplement to the Guiding Principles, providing an analytical framework that gives structure to the discussion, and as a moral “litmus test” for any corporate act or omission affecting human rights and interests.
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