Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance

Chapter for Oxford Handbook of Corporate Law and Governance (Jeffrey N. Gordon and Wolf-Georg Ringe, Eds.)(Forthcoming)

Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper No. 32/2015

64 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2015 Last revised: 12 Aug 2015

See all articles by Cynthia A. Williams

Cynthia A. Williams

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: July 24, 2015

Abstract

Corporate social responsibility has become a subject of growing importance and debate in business and law. Today, no analysis of corporate governance systems would be complete without considering the pressures on companies to be seen as responsible corporate citizens. This chapter first provides a descriptive overview of developments in the field, including increasing voluntary and required environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure; and proliferating voluntary and multilateral standards for responsible corporate behavior. This chapter then reviews some of the more significant empirical evidence of the financial results of companies’ implementation of corporate responsibility initiatives, including the effects of such initiatives on innovation, trust, and social welfare. It concludes with an analysis relating these developments to arguments over the objectives of the corporation and the shareholder/stakeholder debate, with particular reference to the argument between Cornell Distinguished Professor of Corporate and Business Law Lynn A. Stout and Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court Leo E. Strine, Jr.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility, environmental, social and governance disclosure, empirical data on corporate responsibility, shareholder primacy, stakeholder governance, corporate objective function, shareholder/stakeholder debate, codes of conduct, OECD Principles, Ruggie Principles, ISO 26,000

JEL Classification: G30, K20, K22, L20, L21, M14

Suggested Citation

Williams, Cynthia A., Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance (July 24, 2015). Chapter for Oxford Handbook of Corporate Law and Governance (Jeffrey N. Gordon and Wolf-Georg Ringe, Eds.)(Forthcoming); Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper No. 32/2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2635473

Cynthia A. Williams (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada
416-736-5545 (Phone)

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