April 12, 2013
Business and Human Rights: What’s the Board Got to Do with It?
CLE: 1.0 Hours
Speaker: Professor Jena Martin, West Virginia University College of Law
Location: Wynne Courtroom (Room 100),Inlow Hall, 530 W. New York Street, Indianapolis, IN
Contact: Perfecto Caparas at firstname.lastname@example.org
The IU McKinney School of Law welcomes Professor Jena Martin, West Virginia University College of Law to speak about Business and Human Rights: What’s the Board Got to Do with It?
Lecture begins at 11:45am.
Corporate scandals related to human rights issues have illustrated the hefty cost associated with ignoring humanitarian issues while conducting business. For example, the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company (Shell) has spent tens of millions of dollars related to the Nigerian government’s execution of the “Ogoni 9,” which was preceded by a tense relationship between the corporation and Ogoni people of Nigeria. In addition, in India, the Vendanta corporation lost substantial market capitalization following a trial related to its mountain mining activities for its effects on the people of the region. Despite the moral duty that may have compelled action in these examples, it is also clear that a corporation’s (particularly a transnational corporation) decision to develop a framework for proactive corporate responsibility is also good business.
The presentation will examine the appropriate role of the Board of Directors in formulating this framework in light of the Alien Tort Claims Act and the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on corporate responsibility and human rights. While admitting that the Board of Directors will face great challenges when incorporating human rights issues into a company’s corporate governance Professor Martin will argue that organizational behavior theory can provide sounds tools to boards in assessing these issues. Given the central role courts are placing on the Board of Directors, it would be wise to rise to the challenge and make sure that human rights are a key part of their function.
Parking is available for a nominal fee at the campus Gateway Garage, located near the corner of Michigan and California Streets (Address is 525 Blackford Street). Parking is also available for a nominal fee at the Sports Complex (Natatorium) Garage, two blocks west of the law school, at 875 West New York Street.