This article first appeared in the Ethical Corporation blog on December  18, 2018

As the year comes to an end, it is only natural to think back to the many business and human rights happenings of 2018: Facebook’s inaction as its platform was used to incite rape and murder in Myanmar; the continuing stories of displaced communities in Thailand and Indonesia, forced labour in nail salons in the UK and child labour in brick production in Uganda and Brazil. The appalling stories of sexual harassment across western workplaces, and gender-based discrimination in China. And the growth in attacks on human rights defenders who speak out against business abuses.

The easy formula would be, of course, to write yet another “top five issues in 2018 and what to expect in 2019” piece. But what do those articles achieve? Year after year, they all come down to the fact that while some issues linger, and some new ones emerge, the fundamental problems for society remain.

So perhaps the end of the year should steer us in a different direction. One that aims not to list out all the individual crises of respect for human rights – past or anticipated – nor the commendable responses from a growing number of companies, but instead to address social inequality as a whole.

I imagine that 15 years ago… (Continue reading…)