On the Possibilities and Limitations of NGO Participation in International Law and its Processes: Corporate Applications

American Society of International Law Proceedings, 2001

6 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2011

See all articles by Janelle Marie Diller

Janelle Marie Diller

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

Date Written: 2001

Abstract

This paper focuses on the interaction between non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and corporate actors with economic power. Focus is placed on the social and environmental effects of multinational enterprises (MNEs) that are largely private or privatized. The paper points, through specific examples, to some distinguishing contextual factors that affect the possibilities and limitations of NGO influence in the corporate arena. It highlights key features involving the rules relating to the process of interaction between NGOs and corporations; the roles of the actors concerned, particularly the blurred boundaries in identities and responsibilities across NGOs and those who hold economic power; and the results sought by NGOs that go beyond existing legal requirements on corporate behavior. Three distinct patterns of possibility for change in corporate behavior linked to NGO impetus are reflected in voluntary initiatives of corporate social responsibility, de facto best practice, and enhanced international guidelines and mechanisms. Several organic limitations stem from the lack of rules governing the interaction between NGOs and corporations, the blurred boundaries of identities and roles among actors in both camps, and the need to obtain a critical mass in the marketplace to wield influence. Conclusions respecting the possibilities and limitations for NGO action in the corporate arena build on the lack of comparability among the results of NGO-stimulated activities to suggest that a generally accepted set of social accounting principles could lend predictability and integrity to the efforts to influence corporate behavior.

JEL Classification: F23, D20, K33, L31

Suggested Citation

Diller, Janelle Marie, On the Possibilities and Limitations of NGO Participation in International Law and its Processes: Corporate Applications (2001). American Society of International Law Proceedings, 2001, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1806670

Janelle Marie Diller (Contact Author)

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva ( email )

Maison de la Paix
Eugene-rigot 2
Geneva, Ontario CH-1211
Switzerland

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