Codes of Conduct as Private Legal Transplant: The Case of European Extractive MNEs
31 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2012 Last revised: 3 Jul 2013
Date Written: February 15, 2012
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) represents a dynamic area that cuts across a multitude of disciplines and has increasingly attracted the of business schools, behavioural departments, legal scholars, non-governmental organisations and — of course — multinational enterprises (MNEs). Rather than disputing the goodness or badness of CSR, this paper combines the notion of CSR as a parallel regime of private governance with the widely known theory of legal transplant, in order to underline the role of Codes of Conduct as proxies of unilateral legal dissemination and homogenisation. By using as example the self-regulations produced by four European extractive MNEs (Eni S.pA., Total S.A., Repsol YPF and British Petroleum), the article analyses the mechanisms and spaces of circulation, along with the content of the Codes and the role that they play in disseminating EU law beyond its formal boundaries. Exposed to the legal and political relevance of MNEs, the reader is confronted with a global framework characterised by increased regime complexity, the continuous dedefinition of internal and external boundaries, inescapable paradoxes, deep inconsistencies and an unexpressed potential. In this light, the recognition of the existing theoretical weaknesses and of the underlying problematics represents a first and fundamental step towards the production of innovative and alternative legal scenarios.
Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, Legal Transplant, Codes of Conduct, Multinational Enterprises
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