EU has been developing in a considerable rapid pace measures and policies aiming to strengthen the link between business and human rights and has set such a consistent normative movement under the umbrella of the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024, that clearly states that enhancing human rights is an articulated responsibility of the whole society, including academia and business enterprises.

There has been underway a potential lasting and cascading change in global political culture on the matter and, therefore, there is a window of opportunity to develop the Business and Human Rights agenda considerably, in theoretical and practical terms, anticipating and filling governance gaps in the Global South.

The European External Action Service (EEAS) has been highlighting the leadership and visibility of EU standards on BHR through projects assisting governments and businesses in Latin America (such as the Responsible Business Conduct in Latin America and the Caribbean) and other regions and countries of the Global South. It is worth saying that it is possible to recognize newborn network initiatives (often academically coordinated) that can play a definite role in this same direction. That is the reality of Brazil: a key strategic partner of the EU and one in which an increasing awareness and understanding of the impact of business on human rights and the indivisibility of a human rights approach to Responsible Business Conduct have been cascading.

Research Lines

Business and Human Rights: the Global North and the Global South across the divide and the interplay

This research line delves into the intricate relationship between business and human rights, focusing on the simultaneous contrasting realities and interplay between the Global North and the Global South in terms of norm making, norm diffusion and norm internalization. In this sense, it intends to examine key frameworks and policies - and the concepts they entail - such as National Action Plans, Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence, Voluntary Sustainability Standards and how they travel, as well as address their disputed influence on a wide variety of stakeholders. Recognizing that Global Governance processes and practices meet Business and Human Rights (BHR), this research line aims at developing a nuanced and more complex understanding of the dynamics between the Global North and the Global South in this realm. It also intends to collaborate with the development of this international interdisciplinary subfield, employing analytical tools that can decompose, compare, contrast and connect BHR from a Global North and a Global South perspective.

Business and Human Rights agenda and EU normative power

New EU norms and rules promise to advance the green transition and protect human rights in Europe and beyond, impacting global value chains and fostering Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) region and worldwide through the adoption of instruments of global reach.

How far can European normative developments and European standards in BHR, such as the EU Commission recent proposal on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence, the newly approved Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders be extended and internalized? Do Improved regulatory frameworks and standards for protecting human rights in business activities and processes lead to greater respect for human rights in Brazil and in Latin America? These are questions that stimulate a discussion on the quality, ambiguities and dynamics of EU normative power and the EU itself as a normative power.

Business and Human Rights Human Governance Gaps: the Multilateralism- Multistakeholderism continuum

Such a research line deals with the dilemmas and opportunities related to increased expectations, on the one hand, on third countries' private stakeholders to quickly adopt EU-style business and human rights practices, and, on the other hand, on states themselves to both develop National Action Plans (NAPS), a key driving force for the implementation of the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and agree with a Proposed Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights.

While multistakeholderism emphasizes a governance ecosystem full of new actors and new processes in the elaboration of global norms and coordinating consensus around them, multilateral responses and policies struggle to resist as a locus of legitimate democratic governance of the BHR agenda. Such a continuum between multilateralism and multistakeholderism can be a helpful methodological framework to evaluate the dissemination of a European perspective on BHR and collaborate on addressing its possibilities and limits of diffusion, translation and vernacularization.