The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implications for Corporate Social Responsibility Research

Andreas Rasche*, Sandra Waddock*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

473 Downloads (Pure)


This article presents a review of the literature on the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs) for the purpose of situating the UNGPs in the voluntary corporate social responsibility (CSR) infrastructure. We identify four key themes that underlie the debate: (1) a critical assessment of the UNGPs, (2) their application to different sectors, (3) a discussion of how to embed key aspects of the UNGPs into national and regional contexts, and (4) reflections on the role of due diligence. We discuss these themes and outline some practical and theoretical take-away messages. Our review highlights some similarities and differences to the discussion of voluntary initiatives in the field of CSR, especially the UN Global Compact. Our discussion helps to understand how the UNGPs are situated in the voluntary institutional infrastructure for CSR. Finally, we show how the theoretical and practical discourse on the UNGPs can be further advanced.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBusiness and Human Rights Journal
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)227-240
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 09 March 2021.


  • Business and human rights
  • Due diligence
  • Literature review
  • UN Global Compact
  • UN Guiding Principles

Cite this