Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Scott Greathead

First Page



Business managers who ignore these realities--the concerns of these new corporate stakeholders--do so at the risk of their company's brand and their own careers. These are just a few examples of the new stakeholders of multinational corporations--workers, consumers, investors, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the media...

The concerns of these new stakeholders embrace human rights. It is a much broader concept of human rights, however, than the civil and political rights that used to dominate the agenda. Former concerns centered on freedom from arbitrary arrest, detentions, and other due process rights, freedom of speech and association, and governmental abuses such as torture, disappearances, and extra-judicial executions. These new human right concerns focus on social and economic rights--the rights to live and work in a safe and healthy environment, the rights of workers to associate freely and bargain collectively, the cultural rights of indigenous people.

The emergence of these new rights has marked important changes in the human rights agenda. Ten years ago the main players in the human rights drama were governments, the victims of governmental human rights abuses, and human rights NGOs. Now the major players include multinational corporations and a host of advocacy NGOs, representing causes ranging from the environment, labor rights, and women's rights to the cultural rights of indigenous peoples.