Companies hold different forms of power. For example, such power may take the form of introducing restrictions to human rights by the employer, making rules for social platform users or developing a model of interaction with their own supply chains. Some companies are so powerful that they take on the function of protecting democracy and public order at a time when the state is arguably showing weakness. Any exercise of corporate power that interferes with human rights must be assessed in terms of the rule of law.
Recognizing that corporate actors exercise power and must act within the rule of law does not mean such actors may completely supplant the state. Unlike states, they cannot establish a legal order applicable to the entire society. But they are able to influence the behavior and lives of other participants in social relations significantly. Moreover, companies could use their power “to influence the political and regulatory sphere where businesses engage political processes in support of policies that respond to their own interest and priorities, even when such policies are inconsistent with human rights protection and promotion”.
Recognizing that every time companies exercise power raises questions related to the rule of law, we initiate this Fall Talks Series on the Rule of Law and Corporate Actors.
For registration and program with complete list of talks and invited speakers, please visit the Rule of Law and Corporate Actors website.