Corporate Accountability

Corporate Accountability

Join Listserv for Corporate Accountability


There must be coherent and complementary systems of national and international governance of corporate conduct that holds governments and corporations in full adherence with international human rights standards - particularly with regard to economic, social and cultural rights - including strong mechanisms for prevention and accountability.  The Corporate Accountability Working Group (CAWG) seeks to fulfill this vision through supporting cases that can benefit the whole corporate accountability movement, amplifying local struggles and creating new precedents and mechanisms for justice at multiple levels. The CAWG also conducts capacity building for members, and inputs into key policy discussions on the development of standards.


  • Challenge significant cases of corporate violations of human rights, as well as those related to Government complicity
  • Advocate for the participation of affected communities and grassroots groups to represent their own interests in cases of corporate accountability, and influence debates related to greater oversight of corporate misconduct
  • Draw on experience from fighting significant cases of corporate misconduct to institute improvements to systems of national and international corporate governance that secure human rights
  • Advocate for ‘home’ states of transnational corporations to fulfill their extra-territorial obligations to regulate the activities of those corporations
  • Challenge the investors in companies that violate human rights, to lobby these companies to fulfill their human rights obligations or to divest from them


Drawing on the diversity of its Members, the Working Group builds collective, transnational strength and capacity to challenge significant cases and systemic patterns of corporate abuse. The Working Group engages in many different types of activities including, but not limited to, collective advocacy, conducting joint research, member-to-member capacity building, collaborative campaigning, information dissemination and building connections between members and relevant organisations from outside of the Network, etc.  


As a direct response to effective advocacy by the CAWG, the UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights agreed to precedent-setting regional consultations in Africa and Latin America and thematic consultations including affected communities, highlighting the inadequacy of current standards and mechanisms, while securing ongoing space for input in the UN process. The CAWG utilized its diversity and scope to demonstrate systemic patterns of human rights violations involving corporations, ultimately leading to the Business & Human Rights Documentation (B-HRD) Project, an online database of almost 200 well-documented reports focused on the human rights impacts of business.  Finally, drawing on their collective expertise, members are supporting strategic cases with the ultimate aim of opening and testing new national, regional and international spaces to advance accountability and prevention.


Collective Advocacy Initiatives

Emblematic Cases

Human Rights Documentation

Guides, Tools & Resources 

For more information on other activities and actions of this Working Group, including the upcoming People’s Forum on Business and Human Rights, please visit here.


 Join our Corporate Accountability Discussion Group

This Discussion Group facilitates discussion, information exchange and joint work among organizations and individuals from all over the world that are working to ensure that corporations incorporate human rights standards in their operations. This group is one of the key communication avenues for the CAWG. To join email:

Become a Member of the Network

Members are encouraged to propose projects and to develop the activities of Working Groups.  Members also have an important say in setting the overall priorities and direction for the Network, and may participate in General Assembly and Global Strategy meetings, vote and run for the ESCR-Net Board. Find out more here  

Collaborate with the CAWG on an initiative or a case

If you would like to collaborate with the Working Group on an initiative or emblematic case of corporate human rights abuse, please contact 

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Moderators, Coordinators, Steering Cmte. Members: 


More Information: 
Dominic Renfrey (ESCR-Net Secretariat) 
Steering Committee Members:
AltSEAN Burma (Debbie Stothard), Thailand
Conectas Direitos Humanos (Juana Kwietal), Brazil
EarthRights International (Jonathan Kaufman), US/Thailand
Justiça Global (Alexandra Montgomery), Brazil
Kenya Human Rights Commission (Sylvia Kithinji), Kenya
Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People-MOSOP (Legborsi Saro Pyagbara), Nigeria
Murielle Mignot (Individual Member), Angola
Observatorio Cuidadano (José Aylwin), Chile