3 J. Hum. Rts. & Env't. 1 (2012)

handle is hein.journals/jhre3 and id is 1 raw text is: 




Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, Vol. 3 No. 1, March 2012, pp. 1-4



Editorial


Veiled   realities: the  corporation, human rights
and   the  environment




   We  ... live in an age of considerable corruption and corporate power. Perhaps, we ... should
   not just protest - but also re-examine fundamental issues of the nature and status of
   corporations.'
This edition of the JHRE invites the reader to look behind the bland and ubiquitous
corporate form as the authors interrogate the status, power and influence of corpora-
tions in a variety of contexts pertaining to the environment and human rights. The glo-
bal financial crisis and the frantic search that it has initiated for new sources of
economic  growth,  together with the resultant global 'occupy' protest movement,
mean  that this issue is now arguably more prominently fixed in the public eye than
it has been for a generation. The ongoing work of the scholars whose work is included
here provides ample evidence that this is an area that raises not only populist but also
specialist academic concerns across a range of disciplines and is one that continues,
despite its long and controversial history, to be in desperate need of review and
reform. Each of the contributions suggests, in one way or another, that corporations
as currently constituted and as legal subjects, far from being the servants of humanity,
have effectively become the masters of the vast majority, exerting too much power
and influence for our good, that of the wider environment, or indeed, in the long
term, their own sustainability. It will be clear to readers, from the profoundly unedify-
ing cases discussed herein, that current legal arrangements often serve at least to
enable, and often actively to facilitate, corporate breaches of environmental and
human  rights norms, offering opportunities which the unscrupulous are not slow to
pursue. While commercial  undertakings have long fully exploited the benefits accru-
ing from their legal personality, controversially extending their efforts to colonising
human  rights regimes, they seem at the same time to have been very  successful in
avoiding the imposition of reciprocal obligations. Thus in the controversial examples
discussed in this edition it is clear that the law currently offers comparatively little in
terms of securing accountability for breaches of environmental  and human  rights
norms  in an international and, most particularly, a less-developed country context.
Several contributions discuss potential correctives to the inequality of bargaining
power  that exists between big business in its several manifestations and less-devel-
oped  country governments   and  populations through  international and domestic
legal regimes and  self-regulation. Given the current inability of these regimes to


1.   Richard White, 'But Corporations are People too' at <http://www.politico.com/news/
stories/1011/67007.html#ixzzldgFWb900> (accessed 14/11/11) comparing the current status
of corporations to that in the US's 'Gilded Age' when corporations successfully exploited the
14th Amendment  to the US Constitution, designed to protect the rights of former slaves, for
their own ends.

0 2012 The Author                         Journal compilation 0 2012 Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd
                                   The Lypiatts, 15 Lansdown Road, Cheltenham, Glos GL50 2JA, UK
                         and The William Pratt House, 9 Dewey Court, Northampton MA 01060-3815, USA

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing nearly 2,700 academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.



Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline with pricing starting as low as $29.95

Access to this content requires a subscription. Please visit the following page to request a quote or trial:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?