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Countering Corporate Strategies to Avoid Responsibility for Human Rights Abuses

15.00 – 16.30 (Bangkok time, GMT+7), 31 May 2021

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Organised by SOMO, on behalf of the Mind the Gap consortium




The Mind the Gap consortium has developed an innovative framework that establishes corporate strategies leading to the avoidance of responsibility for harmful effects on people and communities around the world. Mind the Gap has identified a total of 25 harmful strategies that can be grouped together under five main types of corporate strategies leading to the avoidance of responsibility for human rights and environmental impacts. The strategies identified are not inherently illegal. In fact, some strategies that fall under our definition are legal and widely applied and accepted by managers, consultants, auditors, legal advisors, and other stakeholders as a way to protect corporate and shareholders’ interests. Nevertheless, while serving business interests, these strategies have harmful effects on society or the environment. Mind the Gap sheds light on the harmful effects of the identified strategies, focuses on the wide use of these strategies, and calls on the business and the international community to close the underlying governance gaps.

Session Description

Corporations around the globe continue to operate with impunity, as they often use strategies to avoid responsibility for human rights abuses and environmental damage. The wide prevalence and acceptance of these strategies is problematic. It emphasises the urgent need for a thorough revision of our global trade and production systems. Also, it is key that communities and civil society organisations are equipped with tools and resources in order to provide an adequate response to harmful corporate strategies to avoid responsibility for human rights abuses. In this session, speakers will elaborate experiences how companies have implemented such harmful strategies and discuss with the audience which civil society interventions and advocacy trajectories may prove to be successful to ensure companies respect human rights and provide remedy for harms occurring.

Session Objectives

The key objectives of this session are to:


  • Understand and analyse strategies that companies use to avoid responsibility for human rights abuses

  • Map and harvest civil society counterstrategies to neutralise harmful corporate strategies and achieve remedy for victims of corporate human rights abuses to be used in a civil society toolkit



Key questions

  • Which corporate strategies have companies used to avoid responsibility for human rights abuses?

  • What are successful civil society intervention strategies to neutralise harmful corporate strategies?

  • What are promising policy measures and initiatives to close the governance gaps that allow corporations to evade responsibility for their actions?


Additional background documents


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