Business, Human Rights and Sustainability


The aim of the module is for students to develop the necessary skills to critically analyse and accurately apply the relevant principles of Business, Human Rights and Sustainability, and understand its function. 

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Claire Bright


Weekly - 2

Total - 24

Teaching language



Not Applicable


All the materials uploaded in Moodle


Nadia Bernaz 2016. Business and Human Rights: History, Law and Policy - Bridging the Accountability Gap. London: Routledge.


General resources

Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)

OECD Guidelines for multinational enterprises

Claire Bright, Axel Marx, Nina Pineau and Jan Wouters, 'Towards a corporate duty for lead companies to respect human rights in their global value chains?', 22(4) Business and Politics (2020), 667-697.


Specific resources

Case law & Commentary

Summary of Okpabi v Shell (UK)

Summary of Milieudefensie v Royal Dutch Shell (Netherlands)

Summary of Vedanta case (UK)

Summary of KiK case (Germany)

Nestlé & Cargill v Doe (USA)

Blog on Okpabi v Shell, Daniel Leader

Symposium on Vedanta Resources Plc vs Lungowe


Regulatory developments & Commentary

- Claire Bright, Mapping human rights due diligence regulations and evaluating their contribution in upholding labour standards in global supply chains in Decent work in a globalized economy Lessons from public and private initiatives, Guillaume Delautre, Elizabeth Echeverría Manrique and Colin Fenwick (Eds), (2021) ILO)

National movements for mandatory human rights due diligence in European countries

EU Parliament Resolution on Corporate Due Diligence and Corporate Accountability

Proposal for an EU wide mandatory human rights due diligence law, Stuart Neely

Human Rights Due Diligence for Climate Change Impacts: Webinar Series Report (2021)




Teaching method

Classes will be taught in an interactive manner where students will be invited to actively engage in the classes. Oral teaching will be reinforced by additional materials such as power point slides which will be uploaded onto the online virtual learning environment. Practical exercises will also be designed in order to help students make a bridge between theory and practice.

Evaluation method

The evaluation method for this course is continuous evaluation. The students who wish to do so also have the possiblity to be evaluated on the basis of a final exam.

Subject matter

1. Contracting for Human Rights

2. The Historical Development of Business and Human Rights

3. The State Duty to Protect Human Rights

4. The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights

5. Access to Remedy

6, Business, Human Rights and Investment Treaties (Guest lecture by Nicolas Bueno (Professor, UniDistance Suisse)

7. European and International Developments on Business and Human Rights

8. The Draft Treaty on Business and Human Rights

9. Human Rights Due Diligence in Practice (Guest lecture by ThéoJaekel (Director of Business and Human Rights at Ericsson))

10-11. Practical exercises

12. Conclusion