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Beyond Voluntary Corporate Social Responsibility: Corporate Human Rights Obligations to Prevent Disa

Anastasia Telesetsky is an Associate Professor at the University of Idaho. Her article discusses corporate social responsibility in the international disaster relief context. Much of the focus of the emerging field of International Disaster Law is on state responsibility. Yet the source of some disasters is the failure of corporations to address known risks created by a company or located on company property. This Article queries whether there are obligations for corporations to act under international human rights law to prevent disasters where corporations have control over known hazards such as tailings dams or chemical dumps.  This Article concludes that corporations have a legal duty to act in order to support and protect human rights whenever there is corporate knowledge of hazards that may precipitate a disaster. Additionally, corporations are often well-placed to provide temporary emergency relief during disaster. This Article suggests there may be a legal duty for corporations to temporarily protect the fundamental human rights of communities during a disaster until government-organized relief is available.


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