The Business Responsability to Respect Human Rights: The Human Right to Water in Global Value Chains

Fleur A. I. J. Flavigny

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

With the UN's official recognition of it in 2010, the human right to water was granted a full status. In March 2017, the Danish NGO Danwatch reported alarming living conditions for local communities in Petorca, Chile, as a consequence of the intensive use of water in nearby avocado plantations. In light of Danwatch's revelations, this thesis suggests how Coop Danmark A/S can improve its corporate respect for the human right to water in its global value chains for avocados. Through a thematic analysis, I examine Coop's past CSR reports using recent literature on the right to water and I find that thus far, Coop has granted no attention to the human right to water in its global value chains for avocados. I account for this with Coop's lack of awareness regarding the human right to water. Further analysis based on a business and human rights approach anchored in the UN's Guiding Principles, on global value chain governance theory and global governance theory allows me to make tangible recommendations to Coop. I infer that in order to improve its corporate respect of the human right to water in its global value chains for avocados, Coop should focus on capacity-building and control of suppliers, and pursue the creation of a global multi-stakeholder initiative that will increase its own leverage in its value chains.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2018
Number of pages100
SupervisorsKarin Buhmann