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California Global Corporate Accountability Project

The California Global Corporate Accountability Project is a collaboration of the Natural Heritage Institute, Human Rights Advocates, and the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development.

Senior Partners:

  • Michelle T. Leighton
  • Naomi Roht-Arriaza
  • Lyuba Zarsky
  • Julianne Cartwright Trailor
  • Project Staff:

  • Sandy Buffett
  • Leif Brottem


    Senior Partners:

    Michelle T. Leighton is co-founder of the Natural Heritage Institute and a specialist in international environmental law and human rights doctrine. She directs NHI's International Programs. Her practice encompasses human rights, land and water management reform, marine fisheries and trade, hazardous waste, migration and public participation in environmental decision-making. She counsels government agencies, non-governmental organizations, intergovernmental institutions, and United Nations bodies. For the past ten years, Ms. Leighton has been an advocate for legal, institutional and policy reforms to address human rights abuses associated with environmental problems. She worked with the U.N. Special Rapporteur in documenting human rights abuses, and now works with the Rapporteur to document cases on corporate hazardous waste dumping. She was lead counsel and advocacy coordinator for the Amicus Curiae brief that was accepted by the International Court of Justice in the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros/Danube River dispute between Hungary and Slovakia, the first to present human rights in conjunction with environmental issues. She holds an LL.M degree in International Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

    Her publications include:

    • International Legal Protection for Victims of Environmental Abuse (Yale Journal of International Law, 1993);
    • NGO Memorial on Legal and Scientific Issues (Int'l Court of Justice Case Concerning the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros Project, 1995);
    • Reevaluating the California Tanner Act: Public Empowerment v. Efficient Waste Disposal (California Real Property Journal, 1995);
    • Conference on Human Rights Approaches to Environmental Protection in the Commonwealth and Beyond: Keynote Speech and Conference Report (Commonwealth Institute, 1993);
    • Report on the Relationship between Human Rights and the Environment (Natural Heritage Institute, 1992).


    Naomi Roht-Arriaza is a professor of law at the University of California Hastings College of Law. She has expertise in international trade and environmental law and has numerous publications on the subjects of human rights, environment, trade, indigenous populations, and international law. In 1978, she served as co-director of the Northern California Interfaith Committee on Corporate Responsibility. She teaches international human rights, international and domestic environmental law, and a seminar in globalization, corporate responsibility, trade and social issues. In 1997-98, she co-directed (with Lyuba Zarsky) a study for the Earth Council on design options for an international NGO ombudsman on environment and human rights. She has written and lectured extensively on industry self-regulation in the environmental and labor rights areas, especially ISO 14000 as a form of voluntary self-regulation. She is President of the Board of Pesticide Action Network and serves on the Board of NHI. She is a former board member of Human Rights Advocates and Greenpeace USA.

    Ms. Roht-Arriaza's publications include:

    • Shifting the Point of Regulation: The International Organization for Standardization and Global Lawmaking on Trade and the Environment (Ecology Law Quarterly, 1995);
    • Environmental Management Systems and Environmental Protection: Can ISO 14001 Be Useful Within the Context of APEC? (Journal of Environment and Development, 1997);
    • Of Seeds and Shamans: The Appropriation of the Scientific and Technical Knowledge of Indigenous and Local Communities (Michigan Journal of International Law, 1996);
    • Impunity and International Human Rights Law and Practice, (Oxford University Press, 1995).
    She is a member of the American Society of International Law and a participant in ASIL's Projects on Non-Binding Legal Accords and on Human Rights and Economic Law. She is also a member of the International Law Association, and an Associate Editor of the Yearbook of International Environmental Law. She received her J.D. from the University of California, Boalt Hall and a Masters in Public Policy from U.C. Berkeley.


    Lyuba Zarsky is Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development. Ms. Zarsky manages the Institute's research and advocacy program on Globalization and Governance, focused on promoting environmental and human rights norms in the governance of international trade and investment. She has written extensively on regional environment, development and governance issues in the Asia-Pacific region and was twice on the U.S. delegation to meetings of APEC Environment Ministers. In her twenty years as an economic analyst and activist, she has directed a number of multi-contributor, multi-national research projects which aimed to both produce the intellectual foundations and nurture the partnerships which catalyze paradigm or policy shifts. Most recently, she co-directed (with Naomi Roht-Arriaza) an Earth Council project examining conflicts over human rights and environmental values involving international actors, including multinational corporations. In the early 1990s, as the Staff Economist for the Australian government's Commission for the Future, she produced a policy blueprint for a national sustainable development strategy and organized multisectoral dialogues involving business, trade union and environmental groups. She is a frequent consultant to the OECD, US-Asia Environmental Partnerships and others.

    Ms. Zarsky has written extensively on innovative approaches to the social regulation of trade and investment in a global economy, especially in the Pacific Rim. Her most recent publications include:

    • Civil Society and Clean Shared Growth in Asia: Towards a Stakeholder Model of Environmental Governance (forthcoming);
    • Havens, Halos and Spaghetti: Untangling the Evidence About the Relationship Between Foreign Direct Investment and the Environment (OECD, 1999 forthcoming);
    • APEC, Globalization, and the 'Sustainable Development" Agenda (Asian Perspectives, October, 1998);
    • Energy and the Environment in Asia-Pacific: Regional Approaches to Market Governance (in UNU Press, Global Governance in the 21st Century, 1999);
    • Stuck in the Mud? Nation-States, Globalisation and the Environment (OECD, Globalisation and the Environment; Preliminary Perspectives, 1998).
    She is an Associate Member of the Center for Popular Economics in Amherst and was a participant in the American Society for International Law's Project on Non-Binding Accords. She holds a Masters Degree in Political Economy from the New School for Social Research and is a Doctoral Candidate in Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


    Julianne Cartwright Traylor is a lecturer, researcher, and activist in the field of international human rights law and policies. She serves on the boards of Amnesty International - USA, the United Nations Associations, East Bay Chapter, and Human Rights Advocates, of which she was a founding member. She co-chairs the Human Rights Task Force of the California Women's Agenda - a state-wide coalition of more than 400 organizations representing 500,000 women working on implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action from the UN Women's Conference. She is also chair of the Steering Committee of the Food First Information and Action Network-USA, the US-affiliate of the international NGO working on implementing economic, social and cultural rights especially the right to food. She has a B.A. degree in Government from Skidmore College and an M.A. degree in Political Science from UC Berkeley with advanced training in International Law and International Human Rights Law at Boalt Hall School of Law, UC Berkeley, and at the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.


    Project Staff:

    Sandy Buffett Program Officer in the Nautilus Institute's Globalization and Governance Program, will serve as Project Coordinator. Prior to joining Nautilus, she coordinated Quantum Leap, a joint project of the National Wildlife Federation and Friends of the Earth, which educates NGOs about the role of private financial flows in global infrastructure and development projects. She also participated in NGO/shareholder dialogue with Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley towards the development of environmental guidelines. As a consultant with the World Resources Institute, she co-authored "Leverage for the Environment: A Guide to the Private Financial Services Industry". Sandy holds an MA in international development from American University and a BA in political science and environmental studies from Colorado College. She recently completed an Executive Certificate Program in International Finance and Multinational Business at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business.


    Leif Brottem, Program Assistant with the Globalization and Governance Program, will serve as Project Assistant. Prior to joining the Nautilus Institute, he worked in the Alaska Governor's Environmental & Natural Resource Policy Office where he worked to coordinate and promote environmental policy within the state administration. Leif also has interned at the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) and at Sustainable Seattle, where he work on community health indicators and the PBS documentary Affluenza. Leif holds a BA in Political Science with a concentration in Environmental Studies from Carleton College, Northfield, MN.