From corporate social responsibility to the democratic regulation of transnational corporations.
International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Social and Economic Sustainability, 5(4),
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This publication examines the role of transnational corporations in governance and critically evaluates the dominant self-regulatory approach of corporate social responsibility (CSR). By placing the onus for change on the corporation, CSR represents an agent-led approach to a systemic problem, and as such it is flawed. After distinguishing between the ideas of CSR and corporate accountability, the latter of which emphasises the answerability of the corporation to public authorities and citizens, the publication then offers an original model for the democratic regulation of the corporation. The model proposes, first, the negotiation of a new corpus of international law to be agreed by states but ratified by those corporations that wish to trade or invest internationally and, second, the reinvigoration of the public charter as an active instrument of public control. The model aims to provide a nested framework within which corporations can trade and compete, while restoring to local communities final decision making authority on the conditions under which corporations may, or may not, operate. Some possible objections to the model are anticipated and addressed.
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