Corporate responsibility and humanitarian principles: What relations between the business and humanitarian worlds?
31-12-2001 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 844, by Gilles Carbonnier
Presentation of the interactions between business activity and international humanitarian law / ICRC policy towards the private sector.
AbstractThe business sector has long exerted a considerable influence upon geopolitical developments worldwide. The international community and the media are now taking a closer interest in the question of corporate responsibility and, of late, in the involvement of business interests in armed conflicts. At the same time, many companies have adopted codes of conduct based on internationally recognized norms, e.g. human rights and labour standards. In this environment, a clear idea is needed of the various objectives motivating the development of relations between the private sector and humanitarian organizations.
Private firms are having to employ security personnel to protect their staff and facilities when operating in unstable areas, thus raising the question of the relevance of international humanitarian law for private sector activities. In order to enhance its ability to protect and assist victims of armed conflicts, the ICRC has decided to implement a specific strategy with regard to firms operating in war-prone areas, designed among other things to promote fundamental humanitarian principles and alert the corporate sector to specific humanitarian concerns through dialogue in the field.