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Corporate Social responsibility Case Study

Case Title:

Unocal in Myanmar: Social Responsibility Battles

Publication Year : 2004

Authors: Hansa Iyengar & Sumit Kumar Chaudhuri

Industry: Oil and Natural Gas


Case Code: CSR0001

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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Since its inception in 1992, the involvement of major oil corporations like Unocal (USA) and Totalfina-Elf (France) in the Yadana Natural Gas Pipeline Project (Yadana Project) in Myanmar had been mired in controversy. Many non-governmental agencies like EarthRights International (Thailand) had opposed the project, as they feared that it would fund Myanmar's military regime and would add to the woes of the population already suffering abuses at the hands of the military. The Yadana project led to serious human rights violations in the villages of the Tenasserim region of Myanmar through which the pipeline passed. In December 2003, a landmark decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, California (USA) enabled the filing of a case against Unocal by the villagers of Myanmar. This case was hailed as the turning point in the struggle for establishing corporate responsibility for human rights violations caused as a direct result of their investments.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To discuss the motives of Unocal and Totalfina in involving in a controversial project that caused human rights violations
  • To discuss the mandated social responsibility of corporates in the regions, where their investments could trouble the people and environment
  • To discuss how a verdict in favour of the plaintiffs would affect the involvement of corporates in controversial projects.

Keywords : Corporate Social Responsibility Case Study Myanmar, Unocal, Totalfina, State Law and Order Restoration Council, SLORC, Yadana project, Human rights violations, Corporate social responsibility, Forced labour, Unocal trial, Alien Tort Claims Act, Earthrights International, Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Natural gas

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