Mapping the Public – Private Law Divide: A Hybrid Approach to Corporate Accountability
35 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2015 Last revised: 16 Sep 2016
Date Written: December 2, 2015
Images of oil-covered seabirds or radioactive fallout from nuclear disasters easily evoke concerns over the risks to personal integrity and environmental degradation. The energy extraction industry, like others, is profit driven; a competitive enterprise, with little regard for the social impact of its activities beyond Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) rhetoric. CSR is neither a precautionary measure nor a remedial framework. Outsider stakeholder influence from government is limited and CSR is written on companies’ terms. What emerges is a distortion between companies’ responsibility and accountability for breaches. We propose a hybrid form of accountability that incorporates public international law to ensure the state, as a guardian of society, plays a more definitive role. This will require more binding obligations on states and companies beyond the current soft law principles, to curtail jurisdictional constraints and forum shopping of large corporations, through an international court of reparations to guarantee effective remedies for victims.
Keywords: Corporate social responsibility; reparations; Ruggie principles
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