No it had a presence in theNo it had a presence in the

No supranational court exists that could rule on issues of responsibility and coercive measures
regarding the actions of multinational corporations.
We assume that the parties pushing for binding rules envisage, at least for the foreseeable
future, that these will be enforced by national laws. We therefore assume that the text of an
international convention covering binding rules for multinational companies would be
transferred to national legislation in signatory countries. Back to square one, in other words.
What is there to indicate that countries that ignore human rights at present would ratify such a
convention? Or that they would implement it?
A likely scenario is that countries that already have comprehensive human rights protection
would be the signatories. Any meaningful application of the convention would then include
extraterritorial application, which means that states would take it upon themselves to address
issues outside of their geographical jurisdiction. This is complicated. In all certainty, there
would be several cases of companies hit with contradictory demands from different judicial
In non-signatory countries, neither the state nor local companies would be affected. The
question is, which multinationals corporations would be? Even assuming extraterritorial
implementation, to bring a company to justice would assume that it had a presence in the
country in question such as a subsidiary, stock market registration, bank assets or similar. Our
hypothesis is that the companies affected would principally be from the industrialised world,
since they have the greatest international presence. Paradoxically, these same corporations are
the most active in CSR issues. So it is not reasonable, in general terms, that these should be the
primary target.
To our way of thinking, the demand for binding rules for multinational corporations resolves
very few of the actual problems regarding respect for human rights and other basic freedoms. It
skirts the issue of the behaviour of states, it skirts the issue of local companies in the Third
World and it also skirts the issue of the multinationals that generally have the greatest risk
profile: those based in countries outside the OECD sphere. If the objective is to resolve real