Clusters of injustice: human rights, environmentalsustainability and labour standards

Smith, Mark J. and Pangsapa, Piya (2011). Clusters of injustice: human rights, environmentalsustainability and labour standards. In: Yanacopulos, Helen and Voiculescu, Aurora eds. The Business of Human Rights: An Evolving Agenda for Corporate Responsibility. London, UK: Zed Publications, pp. 214–234.



Conditions that lead to human rights violations are often the same as those that generate environmental degradation, social inequalities and labour standards violations - when bad things happen, they tend to create clusters of injustice. These conditions include the operation of tentacular capitalism the existence of poor governance where legal protections, should they exist, are not acted upon. Alternatively, there may be an authoritarian regime, civil conflict or war, in which case rule of law is largely absent. Whatever the specific circumstances, there is usually a vulnerable and initially inactive community and a habitat that has come to be seen as an exploitable resource.Using cases on forced labour, slavery and child labour, this chapter explores the limits of corporate responsibility and the potential of corporate citizenship in tackling environmental degradation as well as human rights and labour standard violations.

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