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Assessing the roles of multi-stakeholder initiatives in advancing the business and human rights agenda

30-09-2012 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 887, by Scott Jerbi


Growing reliance on ‘multi-stakeholder initiatives’ (MSIs) aimed at improving business performance with respect to specific human rights-related challenges has become a significant dimension of the evolving corporate responsibility agenda over recent decades. A number of such initiatives have developed in direct response to calls for greater state and corporate accountability in areas of weak governance and violent conflict. This article examines the evolution of key MSIs in light of the 2011 adoption of the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and addresses challenges facing these initiatives in the future.

Keywords: multi-stakeholder initiatives, UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.


Scott Jerbi is Director of Communications of the Institute for Human Rights and Business. From 1997 to 2002 he worked in the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, where his duties included leading the development of the Office’s policies and interactions with the private sector. From 2002 to 2010 he served as Senior Advisor to Mary Robinson at Realizing Rights: the Ethical Globalization Initiative.