MNEs, human rights and the SDGs – the moderating role of business and human rights governance

Stefan Zagelmeyer, Rudolf R. Sinkovics

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The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ascribe specific roles to business organizations and have thus invigorated discussions on the link between the activities of multinational enterprises (MNEs) and international development. In the development of the MDGs and the SDGs, the human rights-related capabilities approach to development has featured prominently. Yet, so far, international business research on the links between MNEs and sustainable management has largely overlooked the human rights aspect. This paper integrates human rights into the debate on the role of business activities in sustainable development. Drawing on the business and human rights (BHR) governance approach, which analyses the governance mechanisms and structures that govern the relationships between human rights duty-bearers and human rights-holders in the business and human rights field, the paper argues that BHR governance can act as moderator in the design, implementation and evaluation of business policies and practices seeking to contribute to the advancement of the SDGs. It shows how BHR governance may support, positively influence and reinforce the impact of private sector activities on international sustainable development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-62
Number of pages30
JournalTransnational Corporations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2019


  • business and human rights governance
  • international business
  • Millennium Development Goals
  • multinational enterprises
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • UNGPs
  • UNGPs; UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights


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