Corporate social responsibility and the law : international standards, regulatory theory and the Swiss responsible business initiative
Title: Corporate social responsibility and the law : international standards, regulatory theory and the Swiss responsible business initiative
Author: JENTSCH, Valentin
Series/Number: EUI MWP; 2018/05
The relationship between corporate social responsibility and the law has changed considerably over time, and even today this relationship is not nearly as stable as it might seem, partly because the concept of corporate social responsibility is still in a state of flux. The main problem with the existing legal framework for transnational companies and the protection of human rights, working conditions and the environment is, however, that there is currently quite a large gap between the state of public international law and national private law. In order to have a consistent and integrated legal system across the globe, which operates under the rule of law and to which states, individuals and companies can rely on, we as a society have to manage to close this gap in a reasonable and appropriate manner. Many scholars have already observed and documented the overall trend from self-regulation and non-binding soft law to state intervention and binding hard law with regard to the protection of human rights, working conditions and the environment by transnational companies. But what is often missing in this picture is that we are certainly not coming from, or currently in, some sort of unregulated wasteland in terms of corporate social responsibility, and that various regulatory approaches have at all times maintained a friendly coexistence. In this working paper, which is for the main part structured as a survey article, I look at the interaction between different regulatory strategies for transnational companies to protect human rights, working conditions and the environment, and the key challenges regarding the transformation of international soft law standards into national private law rules. This is important because it is no longer a question of whether, but how private law should be brought in accordance with international law, and because we have to make sure that certain legal traditions are respected, while at the same time leave enough room for the development of the law.
Subject: Corporate social responsibility; Business and human rights; Working conditions and industrial relations; Business and the environment; Swiss popular initiative on responsible business
Type of Access: openAccess