“A la carte” justice for transnational corporations?

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CCFD-Terre Solidaire | 13 January 2020

“A la carte” justice for transnational corporations?

 Position paper

Today, there is no binding international legal framework to establish the liability of transnational corporations (TNCs) in the area of human rights and environmental protection, nor is there any guaranteed access to justice and remedies for populations affected by the activities of TNCs. At a time when 3,400 trade and investment agreements protect the interests of transnational corporations through Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms, there is no international treaty requiring these large corporations to uphold human rights and environmental protection.

This position paper highlights the many processes underway in several European countries, the EU and the United Nations to bring an end to this parallel legal system and to compel transnational corporations to respect human rights and the environment.


• International law protects the interests of companies at the expense of protection for human rights and the environment. A reform of European and international legal systems is necessary to overcome these shortfalls and this contradiction.
• The French law on the duty of vigilance, passed in 2017, has set a standard throughout the world. France must therefore ensure its effective application and reinforcement. The EU and UN institutions can build upon many of its elements and expand internationally.
• The mechanisms of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) included in trade and investment treaties are a proven threat to human rights, they exacerbate climate change and undermine environmental protection and democracy. It is urgent to bring an end to this parallel justice system.

Read the full paper (pdf)