Category Archives: Ecological Integrity

Business Enterprises and the Environment: Corporate Environmental Responsibility (K.D. Jesse, E.V. Koppe)

Authors

Katinka Danielle Jesse and Erik V. Koppe

Keyword

Corporate Environmental Responsibility, Environmental Due Diligence, Environmental CSR, Business enterprises and the environment, Environmental complement to Ruggie Framework

Abstract

In 2011, following his 2005 initial mandate of the UN Commission on Human Rights and his extended 2008 mandate of the UN Human Rights Council, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on the issues of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, professor John Ruggie, issued the final text of the “Guiding Principles for the Implementation of the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework’’’. The 2008 Framework on Business and Human Rights and the complementing 2011 Guiding Principles consist of three pillars: the duty of states to protect human rights, the responsibility of business enterprises to respect human rights, and access to remedies for victims of human rights abuses. They currently qualify as the dominant paradigm in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) discourse, also because they now form part of various soft law and self-regulation initiatives. The Framework and Guiding Principles do not however specifically focus on environmental issues. But their systematic approach and structure do provide a model to address state duties and business responsibilities to care of the environment. This article is intended to complement the UN Framework and Guiding Principles on business and human rights with principles in the field of business and the environment. Hence, it is submitted that states have a customary duty to care for the environment (paragraph 2); it is similarly submitted that business enterprises have a responsibility to care for the environment (paragraph 3); and it is submitted that stakeholders must have access to remedies in relation to breaches of these duties and responsibilities (paragraph 4).

Citation

Jesse, K.D., Koppe, E.V., Business Enterprises and the Environment: Corporate Environmental Responsibility / Grotius Centre Working Paper 2014/036-SDL (2013) 4 The Dovenschmidt Quarterly December 176-189

Paper

Business Enterprises and the Environment: Corporate Environmental Responsibility

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Gandhi’s Nightmare: Bhopal and the Need for a Mindful Jurisprudence (N. A. Patel, K. Petlakh)

Authors

Nehal A. Patel and Ksenia Petlakh

Keywords

mindful, legal theory, non-western, Gandhi, jurisprudence, transnational, international, human rights, environment, corporation, industrial

Abstract

For decades, activists and academics have been lamenting the disparate impact of global environmental decay on populations less endowed with legal resources. However, the implicit biases of legal theory itself remain unchallenged even when global resource disparities are addressed. Little attention has been given in transnational jurisprudence to how the thought sub structures of modern legal theory contain dispositions that advantage privileged interests and hamper transnational environmental justice efforts.

How can transnational jurisprudence change to become more mindful of the environmental impacts disproportionately experienced by the disempowered, and what conception of global society shall the law embody such that it earns the voluntary submission of the people? We explore these questions with a speculation on how Gandhi’s thought applies to transnational environmental jurisprudence. Gandhi’s thought contains four components that contain the necessary ingredients to evaluate the dominant frames that debilitate global environmental justice efforts. First, Gandhi presented his own construction of the individual’s relationship to the physical and social environments. Second, Gandhi’s thought defines the relationships between societies in a way that is free of Western assumptions of global governance. Third, his thought contains a critique of industrialization and presents a powerful alternative. Fourth, his thought contains a reconstruction of the purpose and function of law and legal systems for a world in which “progress” includes social equality and environmental protection. Comprehensively, Gandhi’s thought reinvigorates a decayed relationship between global environmental justice and transnational environmental jurisprudence by simultaneously redefining the human-environment relationship, legal theory, and dominant Western assumptions of the relationships between nations.

We directly apply Gandhi’s thought to the case law that resulted from the Bhopal chemical disaster, which is widely considered the worst industrial disaster in world history. Applying Gandhi’s thought to the Bhopal cases is useful for two reasons. First, the Bhopal cases contain several core legal doctrines that appear regularly in transnational cases. Second, there is a profound power imbalance between the civilians and the corporation that highlights the case’s relevance to global environmental justice. Through our analysis of the legal principles and the parties’ arguments in this case law, we illustrate our conception of a mindful jurisprudence of the transnational environment.

Citation

N. A. Patel and K. Petlakh, Gandhi’s Nightmare: Bhopal and the Need for a Mindful Jurisprudence (2014) Vol. 30, Harvard Journal on Racial & Ethnic Justice

Paper

Gandhi’s Nightmare: Bhopal and the Need for a Mindful Jurisprudence

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Environmental Justice and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – publication review (J. Ruru)

Author

Jacinta Ruru

Keywords

Ecological Integrity, environment, human rights, climate change, global warming,  globalisation, vulnerability, environmental protection, communities, rights of indigenous peoples.

Abstract

Westra, in this book, brings to the fore the horrors of ‘biological genocide’ that western developed countries have sought to perform on environments that indigenous peoples rely on for their survival. Nuclear testing and chemical spills on indigenous lands are all stories that are told in this book. Westra contends that the eco-footprint of western developed countries is a direct attack on both the right to survival and the right to self-determination of indigenous populations. Her solution, labelled the ‘biological/ecological integrity model’, she argues, is the best possible antidote against eco-footprint crime. She explains: ‘If the rights of indigenous peoples are based, first, on their rights to biological integrity and natural function; and second, these rights cannot be separated from the protection of the ecological integrity of their lands; then third, entrenching such rights would limit the freedom of Western industrial operations to commit crimes’

Citation

(2009) 21(2) Journal of Environmental Law, 385-387.

Paper

Environmental Justice & the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. International & Domestic Legal Perspectives.

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Sick water? The central role of wastewater management in sustainable development (UNEP/ UN-HABITAT)

Author(s)

UNEP and UN-HABITAT

Keywords

Safe water and sanitation; UNEP; UN-HABITAT; UNSGAB; wastewater management; sustainable development; human and ecological health

Abstract

With global action and positive momentum towards improving access to safe water and sanitation, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), and the UN Secretary Generals Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB), in partnership with the members of UN Water have collaborated to bring together their collective experience and expertise to bear on the challenges posed by illegal and unregulated wastewater. Sick water? The Central Role of Wastewater Management in Sustainable Development not only identifies the threats to human and ecological health and the consequences of inaction, but also presents opportunities, where appropriate policy and management responses over the short and longer term can trigger employment, support livelihoods, boost public and ecosystem health and contribute to more intelligent water management.

Citation

UNEP and UN-HABITAT, Sick water? The central role of wastewater management in sustainable development (UNEP/ UN-HABITAT, 2010)

E-Book

Sick water? The central role of wastewater management in sustainable development

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Why green growth is impossible (N. Schoon)

Author

Nick Schoon

Keywords

Economic development; Environmental impact; Sustainable development

Abstract

Considers a report by the Sustainable Development Commission, entitled Prosperity Without Growth? The Transition to a Sustainable Economy, arguing that the separation of economic growth from the over-exploitation of natural resources and environmental degradation is failing, and stating that economic growth in developed countries like the UK should cease but continue in developing ones to lift populations out of poverty. Proposes steps for a sustainable UK economy through building a sustainable macroeconomy, protecting capabilities for people to thrive and respecting ecological limits.

Citation

(2009) 411 ENDS Report 36-39

Paper

Why green growth is impossible

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