In the last decade, there has been increasing discussion on how human rights organizations need to move away from traditional grant models and think more like businesses, or at least to engage with corporations as partners and allies. After all, corporations play an inevitable role in human rights, whether activists want them to or not—could we change this role into something positive? How can the human rights community better engage with corporations as allies, while also holding companies to account when they violate rights? What is the role of corporations in creating ethical standards in artificial intelligence, or in fighting against climate change and the rights violations that come with it? And can activists help nudge corporations in the right direction, or does that change need to come from within? Consumers also have a role to play, as more and more people are voting with their wallets and demanding ethical investing options and sustainable business practices. But how effective are these changes in the long run?
The pieces in this series explore these themes and aim to challenge our thinking when it comes to the relationship between corporations and human rights. While the two are often antagonists, many of these articles show that they do not have to be—we just have to find common ground to forge a new way forward.