Responsibility in World Business: Managing Harmful Side-effects of Corporate Activity

Sample Chapter
  • Edited Lene Bomann-Larsen and Oddny Wiggen

    ISBN-10: 92-808-1103-7,
    ISBN-13: 978-92-808-1103-2
    United Nations University Press
    July 2004

    How should companies deal with the harmful side-effects of their business operations? To what extent should they be held responsible for the wrongdoing of other actors? And how can they conduct business in a responsible manner in countries where human rights abuses are widespread, or where the environment is being degraded?

    These are crucial issues within the current debate on corporate responsibility and they represent the most substantial challenges confronting the business community today.

    This book offers an approach to corporate decision-making based on the principles of Just War Theory, primarily the Principle of Double Effect (PDE). The proposed normative framework can be used both as a tool for performance evaluation, and as a set of guidelines for conducting business in an ethically responsible manner.

    Multiple case studies illustrate the usefulness of incorporating the Principle of Double Effect into corporate decision-making, and show how the proposed framework can help companies assume responsibility for the impact of their operations on multiple stakeholders.

    Lene Bomann-Larsen is a former Research Fellow at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo, and currently a Research Fellow at the Department of Philosophy, University of Oslo.
    Oddny Wiggen is a former Academic Programme Associate in the Peace and Governance Programme of the United Nations University, Tokyo.

    Part I: Introduction: Addressing side-effect harm in the business context: Conceptual and practical challenges


  • Part II: Theoretical discussion: The idea of double effect
  • in war and business
  • Business is not just war: Implications for applying the principle of double effect to business
  • State responsibility, corporate responsibility, and complicity in human rights violations
  • Reconstructing the principle of double effect: Towards fixing the goalposts of corporate responsibility
  • The principle of double effect: Revised for the business contextPart III: Case-studies: The principle of double effect and moral risk: Some case-studies of US transnational corporations
  • An object lesson in balancing business and nature in Hong Kong: Saving the birds of Long Valley
  • Shell in Ogoniland
  • Del Monte Kenya Limited
  • The “just war”
  • for profit and power? The Bhopal catastrophe and the principle of double effect
  • Dealing with harmful side-effects: Opportunities and threats in the emerging Polish market
  • The Orissa case
  • Child labour in the Brazilian citrus sector: The case of Cargill’s double effect
  • A commentary on the principle of double effectPart IV: Conclusion: Towards improved business practice: Implementing the principle of double effect
  • Contributors
    Oddny Wiggen
  • Lene Bomann-Larsen
  • Gregory Reichberg
  • Henrik Syse
  • G. J. (Deon) Rossouw
  • Andrew Clapham
  • Patricia H. Werhane
  • Robert E. Allinson
  • Ogbonna Ike
  • Florence J. A. Oloo
  • Upendra Baxi
  • Julita Sokolowska
  • Heidi von Weltzien Hoivik
  • Cecilia Arruda
  • Chris Marsden