Grounding the 'Social Responsibility' of Companies in the Language of Human Rights: A Survey of the Issues
Posted: 7 May 2008
This article links the concept and practice of 'corporate social responsibility' with human rights standards. A range of factors that have led to the 'rise and rise' of CSR are outlined. CSR is then linked to concepts of the corporation. A shareholder centred neoclassical economic theory of the corporation is compared with other socio-political theories of the corporation that provide a greater scope for the operation of CSR. The relationship between corporations and human rights is then briefly canvassed, both domestically and internationally. Although this is not a new debate what is new is the increasing acceptance of this wider view as an objective of corporate governance, and is reflected by the two recent government committees examining how CSR fits into the Australian scheme of corporate regulation. The conclusion is that linking a broad view of CSR with human rights could be a way to increase corporate accountability.
Keywords: corporate social responsibility, human rights, legal theory, corporations law
JEL Classification: M1, K10
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