Multinational investment and human rights: forging a consensus

The author reports on this conference arranged by the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, England, in April 1998, ostensibly to agree on ways forward for socially responsible enterprise and corporate accountability. Participants were overwhelmingly business leaders and academics, and the author found challenging views were not particularly in evidence; it became clear that the issues under discussion were too complex for a consensus to be reached at this time, and by these representatives. The author argues that NGOs should take part in the ongoing debate and build mass support from the consuming public, as well as from states: `the final arbiters of conflicts of interest between social and economic goals.'