I noticed that although I have covered many human rights and business issues over the course of my blog, one topic I have shyed away from is the enviroment as a human rights issue. I decided to do a bit of research and focus on this topic as a whole.
Through my research I found this webpage from the UN. In the legal overview section they state the following:
‘The environment as a pre-requisite for the enjoyment of human rights (implying that human rights obligations of States should include the duty to ensure the level of environmental protection necessary to allow the full exercise of protected rights)’
In other words, if states allow the environment to deplete, then this is a direct infringement of everyone’s human rights. As the state of our environment worsens, so does the health and lives of everybody on this planet. Even things such as food production could become difficult as temperatures rise, and with a growing population something needs to be done to combat this. I totally understand this perspective, although I would never have thought of the environment as a human rights issue before I started this module, but now it makes complete sense.
In terms of relating this issue back to business, many big businesses can be the worst offenders for environmental impact on the planet. I found this list of the worst offending companies in the world. Unsuprisingly, majority of the worst offenders are energy companies. Extractative industries can wreak havoc on the planet, especially as our access to fossil fuels gets less and less.
It’s down to states to find ways to decrease our consumption of fossil fuels and agreements such as the Paris Climate Agreement are very encouraging and promising. However, it was incredibly worrying when one of the largest states in the world, the U.S failed to agree to the climate accord.
What makes this even more worrying is that the U.S is supposedly one of the worst offending countries on the planet for their impact on the environment.