Responsible Exit from Russia: Business and Human Rights in a Global Governance Gap

Activity: Public engagement and outreachMedia Article or Participation


This is a two-part blog series. In Part 1 Dr Irene Pietropaoli discusses whether foreign companies have a responsibility under international law to leave Russia. In Part 2, Dr. Irene Pietrapaoli and Dr. Daniel Aguirre discuss responsible exits from Russia.

Hundreds of multinational companies have left Russia since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine. While this voluntary divestment - most are not subject to sanctions - may be an effective economic weapon in response to Russia's illegal war, it is an ad hoc response by businesses to crisis, potential liability, sanctions, and other operational risks rather than responsible exit. Human rights are linked vaguely to corporate social responsibility (CSR) or environmental and social governance (ESG) policies and are not the priority. This large scale, uncoordinated divestment will have important positive and negative impacts on the conflict, human rights and on the future of the rules based international legal order.

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Period22 Mar 2022
Held atBritish Institute of International and Comparative Law , United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Business and Society
  • Human Rights
  • Russia
  • Responsible Business