The Danish CSR Reporting Requirement as Reflexive Law: Employing CSR as a Modality to Promote Public Policy
25 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2011
Date Written: November 24, 2011
With effect for financial years beginning January 2009 or later, the Danish Financial Statements Act and related regulations have required large Danish companies and institutional investors to submit an annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report. Through application of reflexive law theory and an analysis of the preparatory works and guidelines for the CSR-reporting requirement, this article demonstrates that the reporting requirement aims to obtain public policy objectives through stimulating companies to self-regulate based on reflection on their impact on society. The legislative history and reporting guidelines indicates a definite objective of drawing on the CSR paradigm to complement national substantive law, engaging company practice in the implementation of national public policy goals and in the extraterritorial implementation of public policy goals related to conditions beyond the reach of national law. The article argues that the Danish model for CSR-reporting exemplifies application of reflexive law as a regulatory strategy applied to push company self-regulation in a direction defined by public law standards and policy objectives, in casu particularly human rights, labor rights, environment, climate and anti-corruption.
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