You are on page 1of 5

Resuman Artikel Opini

Why corporate 'knowing and showing' matters


Oleh: Hendro Wibowo (3401413104), Rombel 1

Artikel
The basic tenet of creating an institution called a corporation is to
bring more benefit to society at large. Corporations can generate
economic wealth on a much larger scale than individual businesses.
The government provides incentives for corporations as a means to
increase production, which in the end may help the government in
distributing wealth.
Unfortunately, corporate operations have also been accused of being
the main cause of environmental degradation, triggering social
conflicts and/or human rights violations. For instance, a global food
chain company could be accused of fueling deforestation by using
paper packaging made from Indonesian rainforest timber.
Years ago, green activists, couscientious consumers and human rights
activists relied on naming and shaming campaigns to make
companies respond to them. Negative publicity and boycotts of the
companies products are some examples. Such campaigns assume that
reputation is the most important element of companies businesses.
Unfortunately, there are a number of situations that could make the
name-and-shame approach struggle to achieve its objectives. First, the
complex structure of corporations. The layers of corporate groups and
the web of subsidiaries across borders make it difficult to trace which
company should be held responsible for alleged harm. Moreover, with
their capital power, corporations can easily transfer operations to other
countries, leaving the harm unaddressed.
Second, corporations hide behind national laws and local government

protection. Many companies take advantage of the absence of related


laws, legal uncertainty and weak law enforcement in the countries
where they operate.
Third, to avoid being targeted by negative publicity, companies create
voluntary standards that contain policies to respect social,
environmental and human rights issues. Many of these standards are
lip service, and many lack a public verification mechanism.
Since the birth of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human
Rights in 2011, there has been a fundamental change in expectations
of corporations behavior towards social, environment and human
rights issues. These guidelines introduce a new approach that replaces
the naming and shaming campaign. It endorses new rules of the game,
namely the knowing and showing approach.
Instead of blaming and punishing companies with bad publicity to stop
their negative impacts on society, the knowing and showing approach
provides a chance for companies to take preventive steps before any
harm occurs from their operations. Companies are encouraged to
conduct assessments to identify what harm they could cause to the
environment, local communities and employees.
Likewise, companies are encouraged to communicate to the public all
measures that they have taken to minimize the negative impacts
arising from their operations. In this way, companies are able to tell the
real situation to the public, yet maintain their reputations.
How does this knowing and showing approach work? The UN guidelines
provide a practical instrument human rights due diligence. It starts
with a commitment by companies to respect human rights, followed by
assessing what impact on human rights the company may cause, in
what way, and to what level of severity.
The result of this assessment must be understood by all personnel at
all levels within the companies, and their managements must take
appropriate measures to address every single instance of identified
harm, including cooperating with government and non-government
bodies in relation to particular issues.

The measures taken must be evaluated in terms of whether or not they


properly avoided or minimized the expected negative impacts. Finally,
the company must prepare regular reports that contain all information
about the above activities, which must be made publicly accessible.
Preparing human rights due diligence in the early phases of a project is
the ideal situation. However, due diligence may be conducted at any
stage of operations, regardless of the business sector and scale.
For instance, it is not too late for companies involved in the
reclamation projects in Jakarta Bay to conduct human rights due
diligence. Likewise, it would be beneficial for a company operating a
goldmine project in Tumpang Pitu, Banyuwangi, East Java, to prepare
due diligence, as the project only started a few weeks ago.
However, human rights due diligence is not aimed at justifying the
continuance of a business project. It is a mechanism for the company
to realize what harm it could cause, and a tool for all stakeholders to
communicate and find a better solution to avoid human rights
violations from occurring.
When the impact on human rights is too severe, there is no other
option for the company except to halt the project as we would all
agree that human lives are worth more than anything else.
*The writer is a lecturer at the School of Law, Airlangga University,
Surabaya.

Resuman
Artikel opini di atas menjelaskan mengenai perusahaan yang
sering

menimbulkan

persoalan

bagi

lingkungannya.

Perusahaan

mendapatkan insentif dari pemerintah dikarenakan perusahaan dapat


membantu pemerintah dalam memenuhi kebutuhan masyarakat.

Namun, di sisi lain operasional perusahaan juga menyebabkan


kerusakan lingkungan, memicu konflik sosial, maupun pelanggaran
Hak

Asasi

Manusia

(HAM).

Misalnya

adalah

perusahaan

yang

menggunakan kemasan kertas yang berarti meningkatkan penggunaan


kayu dari pohon-pohon di hutan.
Tahun lalu, aktivis lingkungan, aktivis HAM, serta dari pihak
kosumen

mengkampanyekan

sanksi

kepada

perusahaan

yang

melakukan pelanggaran berupa penyebaran kejelekan dan boikot


produk. Hal tersebut dikarenakan reputasi adalah hal yang sangat
penting dalam bisnis perusahaan. Sayangnya, terdapat hambatan
yang menghalangi keberhasilan cara tersebut.
Penghambat itu di antaranya meliputi:
1. Struktur

kompleks

perusahaan,

dimana

lapisan

kelompok

perusahaan dan web dari anak perusahaan mempersulit pelacakan perusahaan yang
harus bertanggung jawab atas dugaan kerugian. Selain itu, dengan kekuatan modal yang
dimilikinya, perusahaan dapat dengan mudah melakukan operasi ke negara-negara lain,
meninggalkan permasalahan kerugian yang belum terselesaikan.

2. Perusahaan bersembunyi di balik hukum nasional dan perlindungan pemerintah daerah.


3. Dalam rangka menghindari menjadi target publikasi negatif, perusahaan membuat standar
sukarela yang berisi kebijakan untuk menghormati hak asasi sosial, lingkungan dan manusia.

Namun, harapan perilaku perusahaan yang baik itu berugeser


setelah adanya pedoman PBB yang menggantikan cara yang
dikampanyekan tadi. Pedoman dari PBB tersebut memiliki celah
dimana perusahaan yang menyebabkan kerugian tersebut bisa tetap
menjaga reputasi mereka. Pelaksanaan

pedoman PBB harus

dilaksanakan dengan komitmen perusahaan untuk menghormati


HAM. Selanjutnya diikuti dengan menilai bagaimana operasional
perusahaan berdampak pada HAM, dengan cara apa, dan pada
tingkat keparahan yang bagaimana.
Hasil penilaian tersebut harus dipahami oleh semua personil perusahaan, dan
mereka harus mengambil tindakan yang tepat untuk mengatasi setiap bahaya yang
teridentifikasi, termasuk bekerja sama dengan badan-badan pemerintah dan non-pemerintah
dalam kaitannya dengan isu-isu tertentu. Jika dampak terhadap HAM terlalu parah, tidak ada
pilihan lain bagi perusahaan kecuali menghentikan proyeknya, mengingat hidup manusia
tentunya lebih berharga dari apa pun.
*Penulis artikel adalah dosen di Fakultas Hukum, Universitas Airlangga, Surabaya.