Michael Kourabas

Trained as a lawyer, I now focus on legal business development, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and business & human rights. My past experience includes work on complex commercial litigation, international human rights advocacy, education policy, pro bono legal representation, and analysis of CSR challenges in both the private and public sectors.


How Some Long-Term Investors are Fighting for Sustainability

Last week, Ceres released an illuminating analysis of how some major companies are responding to shareholder engagement on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. It shows that many long-term investors are fighting for sustainability — and companies are, for the most part, responding in kind.

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BSR and the State of Corporate Responsibility

Last week, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and GlobeScan released their 7th annual State of Sustainable Business Report. Given BSR’s impressive membership provides a one-of-a-kind overview of what major businesses across the globe think about sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR). It also suggests that consumers who care about CSR and sustainability could be doing a whole lot more to pressure corporations to act.

These children are just a few of the thousands of refugees living in Myanmar.

Multinational Businesses and the Plight of the Rohingya

Even in a more open and democratic Burma, the Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim minority, continue to suffer. And there isn’t a single actor — governmental, corporate or otherwise — willing to take responsibility.

A plantain farmer walks through a banana plantation in Quindió, Colombia.

SCOTUS to Foreign Victims of Corporate Human Rights Abuse: Stay Away

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear plaintiffs’ appeal in Cardona v. Chiquita Brands International, a lawsuit brought by victims of terrorism and crimes against humanity in Colombia. The Court may also have, once and for all, shut the door to the American courts for individuals harmed by American corporations abroad.

Levi Strauss

A Sustainable Supply Chain “Race to the Top”

Levi Strauss & Co. is hoping that, by incentivizing its worldwide web of suppliers to operate more responsibly, it can create what it is calling a sustainability “race to the top” in its supply chain.


Bananas, the Colombian Civil War and the U.S. Supreme Court

Last week, a group of Colombian plaintiffs asked the Supreme Court to revive their lawsuit against banana giant Chiquita. This case presents an opportunity for the Supreme Court to clarify its 2013 decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell and give much needed guidance to plaintiffs and businesses regarding when a corporation may be liable under U.S. law for human rights abuses committed abroad.


Young v. UPS and the Rights of Pregnant Women in the Workforce

Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Young v. UPS, a case that could change the way pregnant women are treated by their employers. The case will force conservative justices to choose between two core right-wing constituencies: anti-choice activists and pro-business groups.


Forced Labor Occuring Now in Uzbekistan’s Cotton Fields

In addition to offending all notions of civil liberties, the Uzbek forced labor system is just plain bizarre. For example, one’s work boss is also one’s boss in the cotton fields and, incredibly, cotton-picking skills may “become a component of annual job evaluations, skewing decisions on promotions.”