Beyond Profit: Rethinking Corporate Social Responsibility and Greenwashing After the BP Oil Disaster

56 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2010 Last revised: 28 Apr 2013

Miriam A. Cherry

Saint Louis University - School of Law

Judd F. Sneirson

Savannah Law School

Date Written: September 1, 2010

Abstract

The explosion of the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon and subsequent oil spill stands as an indictment not just of our national energy priorities and environmental law enforcement; it equally represents a failure of Anglo-American corporate law and what passes for corporate social responsibility in business today. Using BP and the disaster as a compelling case study, this Article examines green marketing and corporate governance and identifies elements of each that encourage firms to engage only superficially in corporate social responsibility yet trumpet those efforts to eager consumers and investors. The Article then proposes reforms and protections designed to increase corporate social responsibility, root out greenwashing, and recognize liability for corporate social responsibility frauds on consumers and investors. One of these protections derives from the newly enacted Dodd-Frank Act, whose Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection could play a leading role in policing fraudulent claims of corporate social responsibility.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility, bp, greenwashing, dodd-frank, shareholder wealth maximization

JEL Classification: K22, K32

Suggested Citation

Cherry, Miriam A. and Sneirson, Judd F., Beyond Profit: Rethinking Corporate Social Responsibility and Greenwashing After the BP Oil Disaster (September 1, 2010). Tulane Law Review, Vol. 85, No. 4, p. 983, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1670149 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1670149

Miriam A. Cherry

Saint Louis University - School of Law ( email )

100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States
314-977-04537 (Phone)

Judd F. Sneirson (Contact Author)

Savannah Law School ( email )

516 Drayton Street
Savannah, GA 31401
United States
912 525 3918 (Phone)

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