Corporate Social Responsibility Beyond Law, Through Law, for Law: The New Corporate Accountability

THE NEW CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY: CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND THE LAW, D. McBarnet, A. Voiculescu, T. Campbell, eds., Chapter 1, Cambridge University Press, 2007

Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3/2008

Posted: 25 Jan 2008  

Doreen McBarnet

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Abstract

The adoption of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies is no longer a matter of voluntary practice on the part of business. In one sense it was never really voluntary, being in most cases a response to market pressures and reputational risk. But increasingly CSR is also subject to legal pressure and legal enforcement, not necessarily in the form of conventional state regulation but rather through indirect state pressure and through the use of private law by private actors, sometimes through highly innovative uses of law. This paper analyses and critically assesses the market forces pressing for CSR. It then demonstrates the mechanisms being used to bring law into CSR, but it also shows market pressures being brought to bear to press for a new sense of responsibility in how business approaches legal compliance, seeking compliance with the spirit and not just the letter of the law. The paper demonstrates the new governance at work and the emergence of wider forms of corporate accountability.

Suggested Citation

McBarnet, Doreen, Corporate Social Responsibility Beyond Law, Through Law, for Law: The New Corporate Accountability. THE NEW CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY: CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND THE LAW, D. McBarnet, A. Voiculescu, T. Campbell, eds., Chapter 1, Cambridge University Press, 2007; Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3/2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1087244

Doreen J. McBarnet (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wolfson College
Linton Road
Oxford OX2 6UD, OX1 3UQ
United Kingdom
(01865) 284220 (Phone)
(01865) 284221 (Fax)

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