Human Rights and the Environment
Resources for teachers seeking to apply an environmental human rights approach to teaching business and human rights include the recent work of United Nations Special Rapporteurs, a growing body of commentary, and legal cases seeking to hold business enterprises accountable for their environmental and human rights impacts.
- UN Materials
- Additional Primary Sources
- Commentary – Business
- Commentary – Legal
- Commentary – Policy
- Legal Cases
- United Nations, Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (October 21, 2015), https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld.
UN Special Rapporteurs
- John Knox, Report of the Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, UN Human Rights Council, UN doc. A/HRC/25/53 (Dec. 30, 2013), https://undocs.org/en/A/HRC/25/53.
- John Knox, Report of the Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment: Mapping Report, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (March 2014), https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Environment/SREnvironment/Pages/MappingReport.aspx.
- John Knox, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Issue of Human Rights Obligations Relating to the Enjoyment of a Safe, Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment: Framework Principles, UN Human Rights Council, UN doc. A/HRC/37/59 (Jan. 24, 2018), https://undocs.org/A/HRC/37/59.
- David Boyd, The Right to Breathe Clean Air – 2019, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment (Feb. 19, 2019), http://www.srenvironment.org/report/the-right-to-breathe-clean-air-2019.
- David Boyd, Human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment (Safe Climate), UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (Jul. 19, 2019), https://undocs.org/A/74/161.
- David Boyd, A Safe Climate: Human Rights and Climate Change, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment (Oct. 16, 2019). http://www.srenvironment.org/report/a-safe-climate-human-rights-and-climate-change.
- David Boyd, Good Practices in Implementing the Right to a Healthy Environment – 2020, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment (Apr. 15, 2020), http://www.srenvironment.org/report/good-practices-in-implementing-the-right-to-a-healthy-environment-2020.
- Baskut Tuncak, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, UN Human Rights Council, UN doc. A/HRC/36/41 (Jul. 20, 2017), https://undocs.org/A/HRC/36/41.
- Baskut Tuncak, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, UN Human Rights Council, UN doc. A/HRC/39/48 (Aug. 3, 2018). https://undocs.org/A/HRC/39/48.
- Children’s rights and the environment, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, https://www.ohchr.org/en/issues/environment/srenvironment/pages/environmentandrightschild.aspx.
- The Rights of the Child and Hazardous Substances and Wastes, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Environment/ToxicWastes/Pages/TheRightsoftheChildandHazardousSubstancesandWastes.aspx.
- Call for inputs on healthy ecosystems and human rights: sustaining the foundations of life, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (15 June 2020), https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Environment/SREnvironment/Pages/HealthyEcosystems.aspx.
- Key Messages on Human Rights and Climate Change, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/ClimateChange/KeyMessages_on_HR_CC.pdf.
- Protection of the rights of workers exposed to hazardous substances and wastes, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (October 8, 2019), https://undocs.org/A/HRC/RES/42/21.
- Toolkit on the Right to Food, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/ESCR/Pages/Food.aspx.
UN Environment Programme
- UN Environment Programme, Emerging zoonotic diseases and links to ecosystem health – UNEP Frontiers 2016 chapter (April 8, 2020), https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/emerging-zoonotic-diseases-and-links-ecosystem-health-unep-frontiers-2016-chapter.
- UN Environment Programme, UNEP Frontiers 2016 Report: Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern (2016), https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/7664/Frontiers_2016.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y.
- UN Environment Programme, UNEP – Principle 10 and the Bali Guideline, https://www.unenvironment.org/civil-society-engagement/partnerships/principle-10.
- UN Environment Programme, Advancing environmental rights, https://www.unenvironment.org/explore-topics/environmental-rights-and-governance/what-we-do/advancing-environmental-rights.
Additional Primary Sources
- Expert Group on Climate Obligations of Enterprises, Principles on Climate Obligations of Enterprises(The Hague: Eleven International Publishing, 2018), https://climateprinciplesforenterprises.org.
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Air pollution linked with higher COVID-19 death rates, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/air-pollution-linked-with-higher-covid-19-death-rates/.
- Ontario Securities Regulation, Canadian Securities Administrators Staff Notice 51-358 Reporting of Climate Change-related Risks (August 1, 2019), https://www.osc.gov.on.ca/documents/en/Securities-Category5/csa_20190801_51-358_reporting-of-climate-change-related-risks.pdf.
- Ontario Securities Regulation, National Instrument 51-102 Continuous Disclosure Obligations (June 12, 2018), https://www.osc.gov.on.ca/documents/en/Securities-Category5/rule_20180612_51-102_unofficial-consolidation.pdf.
- OECD, Building Back Better: A Sustainable, Resilient Recovery after COVID-19, OECD Policy Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19), June 5, 2020, http://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/policy-responses/building-back-better-a-sustainable-resilient-recovery-after-covid-19-52b869f5/#section-d1e45.
- Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement in the Extractive Sector(Paris: OECD Publishing, 2017), https://www.oecd.org/publications/oecd-due-diligence-guidance- for-meaningful-stakeholder-engagement-in-the-extractive-sector-9789264252462-en.htm.
- Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD Publishing, 2011), http://www.oecd.org/daf/inv/mne/48004323.pdf.
- Oslo Principles on Global Climate Change Obligations, Global Justice Program, Yale University, https://globaljustice.yale.edu/oslo-principles-global-climate-change-obligations.
- Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, Final Report: Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (June 2017), https://www.fsb-tcfd.org/publications/final-recommendations-report/.
- Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, Publications, https://www.fsb-tcfd.org/publications/.
- United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, The Aarhus Convention, adopted 25 June 1998, entered into force 30 October 2001, last updated March 13, 2020, https://ec.europa.eu/environment/aarhus/.
- United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean, Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (Escazú Agreement), adopted 4 March 2018, https://www.cepal.org/en/escazuagreement.
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Commission Guidance Regarding Disclosure Related to Climate Change (February 8, 2010), https://www.sec.gov/rules/interp/2010/33-9106.pdf.
- United Nations Global Compact, The Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, https://www.unglobalcompact.org/what-is-gc/mission/principles.
- World Meteorological Organization, Water challenge: clean water for hand washing, https://public.wmo.int/en/resources/coronavirus-covid-19/water.
Commentary – Business
- Daniel Cohan, COVID-19 shutdowns are clearing the air, but pollution will return as economies reopen, The Conversation (May 8, 2020), https://theconversation.com/covid-19-shutdowns-are-clearing-the-air-but-pollution-will-return-as-economies-reopen-134610.
- Gemma Cranston and Will Steffen, Linking planetary boundaries to business, University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, Kering’s series on Planetary Boundaries for Business (January 16, 2019), https://www.cisl.cam.ac.uk/resources/publication-pdfs/linking-planetary-boundaries.pdf.
- Sara L. Seck, Business Responsibilities for Human Rights and Climate Change – A Contribution to the Work of the Study Group on Business and Human Rights of the International Law Association (May 25, 2017), https://works.bepress.com/sara-seck/2/.
- Sara L. Seck, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, and the Extractive Industries, Journal of Environmental Law and Practice (v. 31, no. 1 , 2018), 271-292, https://works.bepress.com/sara-seck/14/.
- Sara L. Seck, Transnational labour law and the environment: Beyond the bounded autonomous worker, Canadian Journal of Law and Society (v. 33, no. 2, 2018), 137-157, https://works.bepress.com/sara-seck/62/.
- Sara L. Seck, Update on the work of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment: relevance for states, businesses, and local environmental justice, Dalhousie University Environmental Law News (blog) (September 5, 2018), https://blogs.dal.ca/melaw/2018/09/05/update-on-the-work-of-the-special-rapporteur-on-human-rights-and-the-environment-relevance-for-states-businesses-and-local-environmental-justice/.
- Sara L. Seck and Michael Slattery, Business, Human Rights and the IBA Climate Justice Report, Journal of Energy and Natural Resources (v. 34, no. 1, 2016), 75-85, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2975764.
- Sara L. Seck and Siobhan Quigg, 4: Corporate Climate Responsibility, Dal Law Journal (podcast) (January 2020), https://soundcloud.com/user-653954800/04-sara-seck-climate-responsibility.
Commentary – Legal
- David Boyd, Rights of nature: a legal revolution that could save the world (Toronto: ECW Press, 2017).
- IBA Presidential Task Force on Climate Change Justice and Human Rights, Achieving Justice and Human Rights in an Era of Climate Disruption, International Bar Association (July, 2014), https://www.ibanet.org/PresidentialTaskForceCCJHR2014.aspx.
- Isabella Kaminski, Carbon Majors Can Be Held Liable for Human Rights Violations, Philippines Commission Rules, The Climate Docket (December 9, 2019), https://www.climatedocket.com/2019/12/09/philippines-human-rights-climate-change-2/.
- Grizelda Mayo-Anda and Zeldania Dt Soriano, Petition. Requesting for Investigation of the Responsibility of the Carbon Majors for Human Rights Violations or Threats of Violations Resulting from the Impacts of Climate Change (2015), https://storage.googleapis.com/planet4-philippines-stateless/2019/05/5a38951a-5a38951a-cc-hr-petition_public-version.pdf?_ga=2.100780993.1185842205.1561918180-1478796561.1561918180.
- Sara L. Seck, Human Rights and Extractive Industries: Environmental Law and Standards, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation: Special Issue on Human Rights Law and the Extractive Industries (v. 12, February 2016), 12-1–12-42, https://works.bepress.com/sara-seck/4/.
- Sara L. Seck, A relational analysis of enterprise obligations and carbon majors for climate justice, Oñati Socio-Legal Series (forthcoming): Climate Justice in the Anthropocene (2020), https://works.bepress.com/sara-seck/82/ .
- Sara L. Seck, Relational Law: Re-imagining Tools for Environmental and Climate Justice, Canadian Journal of Women and the Law (v. 31, no. 1, 2019), 151-177, https://works.bepress.com/sara-seck/46/.
- Sara L. Seck, Revisiting Transnational Corporations and Extractive Industries: Climate Justice, Feminism, and State Sovereignty, Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems (v. 26, no. 2, 2017), https://works.bepress.com/sara-seck/20/.
- K.H. Toft, Climate Change as a Business and Human Rights Issue: A Proposal for a Moral Typology, Business and Human Rights Journal (v. 5:1, 2020), 1-27.
- S. Varvastian and F. Kalunga, Transnational Corporate Liability for Environmental Damage and Climate Change: Reassessing Access to Justice after Vedanta v Lungowe. Transnational Environmental Law (2020), https://doi.org/10.1017/S2047102520000138.
Commentary – Policy
- Katherine Bagley, Connecting the Dots Between Environmental Injustice and the Coronavirus, Yale Environment 360, Yale School of the Environment (May 7, 2020), https://e360.yale.edu/features/connecting-the-dots-between-environmental-injustice-and-the-coronavirus.
- Lisa Benjamin, Meinhard Doelle, and Sara L. Seck., Climate change, poverty and human rights: an emergency without precedent, The Conversation (September 4, 2019), https://theconversation.com/climate-change-poverty-and-human-rights-an-emergency-without-precedent-120396.
- Conservation International, Global Conservation Rollbacks Tracker, https://www.conservation.org/projects/global-conservation-rollbacks-tracker.
- John Knox, Greening human rights, OpenDemocracy Editorial Partnership (July 14, 2015), https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/openglobalrights-openpage/greening-human-rights/.
- Stockholm Resilience Centre, Planetary Boundaries A Safe Operating Space for Humanity, https://www.stockholmresilience.org/download/18.6d8f5d4d14b32b2493577/1459560273797/SOS+for+Business+2015.pdf.
- Sara L. Seck, Indigenous Rights, Environmental Rights, or Stakeholder Engagement? Comparing IFC and OECD Approaches to the Implementation of the Business Responsibility to Respect Human Rights, McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law (v. 12, no. 1, 2016), 48-91, https://works.bepress.com/sara-seck/5/.
- Sara L. Seck, Upcoming Canadian Country Visit of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Toxics, The Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment (blog) (April 10, 2019), https://blogs.dal.ca/melaw/2018/09/05/update-on-the-work-of-the-special-rapporteur-on-human-rights-and-the-environment-relevance-for-states-businesses-and-local-environmental-justice/.
- United Nations, Build back better and preserve biodiversity after COVID-19 pandemic: UN chief, UN News (May 22, 2020), https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/05/1064752.
- United Nations, Covid-19 environmental roll back ‘irrational and irresponsible’ rights expert, UN News (April 15, 2020), https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/04/1061772.
- United Nations Department of Global Communications, Climate Change and COVID-19: UN urges nations to ‘recover better’ (April 22, 2020), https://www.un.org/en/un-coronavirus-communications-team/un-urges-countries-‘build-back-better’.
- Anne Velenturf and Phil Purnell, What a sustainable circular economy would look like, (May 6, 2020), https://theconversation.com/what-a-sustainable-circular-economy-would-look-like-133808.
- Harriet Washington, How environmental racism is fuelling the coronavirus pandemic, Nature (May 19, 2020), https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01453-y.
- BCE Inc. v. 1976 Debentureholders, 2008 SCC 69,  3 S.C.R. 560. (Can.).
- Chevron Corporation v. Yaiguaje, 2015 SCC 42,  3 S.C.R. 69 (Can.).
- Nevsun Resources Ltd. v. Araya, 2020 SCC 5,  S.C.J. No. 5 (Can.).
- Vedanta Resources PLC and another (Appellants) v Lungowe and others (Respondents),  UKSC 20.
- Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corporation, 2018 ONCA 472,  O.J. No. 2698 (Can.).
- In re Greenpeace Southeast Asia,  (Philippines),http://climatecasechart.com/non-us-case/in-re-greenpeace-southeast-asia-et-al/.
- UK Companies Act, 2006, c. 46, s. 172(1)(d).
- Canada Business Corporations Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-44, s. 122(1.1)(b).
- Global Reporting – Beyond Carbon, Beyond Reports
- Chiara Macchi, Climate Change, Migration and Human Rights in the Context of SubSaharian Africa, University of Addis Ababa – College of Law and Governance Studies (May 2019), on file with the Teaching Business and Human Rights Forum Syllabi Bank.
- Elizabeth Umlas, Business and Human Rights Syllabus and Reading List, Oxford University Master of Studies in International Human Rights Law (July 2016), on file with the Teaching Business and Human Rights Forum Syllabi Bank.
[*]This bibliography may be cited as:
Sara L. Seck, “Teaching Resources: Human Rights and the Environment,” Teaching Business and Human Rights Handbook (Teaching Business and Human Rights Forum, 2020), https://teachbhr.org/resources/teaching-bhr-handbook/teaching-notes/human-rights-and-the-environment/teaching-resources/.