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Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in International Economic Law$
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Thilo Rensmann

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198795650

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198795650.001.0001

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Business and Human Rights and the Challenges for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Business and Human Rights and the Challenges for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Chapter:
(p.311) 12 Business and Human Rights and the Challenges for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
Source:
Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in International Economic Law
Author(s):

Michael K Addo

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198795650.003.0013

This chapter assesses the challenges posed by the implementation of business and human rights standards, especially the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Although SMEs make up between 85 and 99 per cent of global enterprises, they have not been directly involved in the crafting of these standards and this coupled with the traditional focus on transnational enterprises gives a flavour of the formidably challenging context in which the UNGPs are to be implemented. Drawing on lessons from related disciplines such as corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental sustainability, the chapter explores the implications for human rights of issues such as SME identity, organizational structures, and their place in supply chains. The chapter concludes that the challenges are not overwhelming, especially if the unique characteristics of SMEs such as their flexibility, adaptability, and clear leaderships can be leveraged to achieve the objectives of the business and human rights standards.

Keywords:   Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, SMEs and human rights, business and human rights, corporate social responsibility (CSR), United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), supply chains and business relationships, United Nations Global Compact, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

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