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Defining the Limits of Corporate Responsibilities against the Concept of Legal Positive Obligations

Mares, Radu LU (2009) In George Washington International Law Review 40(4). p.1157-1217
Abstract
There is currently a widespread societal expectation for businesses to respect and support human rights. The apparent simplicity of this expectation contrasts sharply against the difficulty of specifying with precision the boundaries of corporate social responsibilities (CSR). This Article argues that the basis of these difficulties is the uncertainty regarding the responsibility of a business for the actions of third parties. In contrast, the responsibility for abuses caused by a corporation’s own actions is less controversial and is grounded in tort laws. As made apparent by numerous CSR front-page stories, responsibility may also arise from a company’s culpable omission to monitor and influence its business partners. This Article... (More)
There is currently a widespread societal expectation for businesses to respect and support human rights. The apparent simplicity of this expectation contrasts sharply against the difficulty of specifying with precision the boundaries of corporate social responsibilities (CSR). This Article argues that the basis of these difficulties is the uncertainty regarding the responsibility of a business for the actions of third parties. In contrast, the responsibility for abuses caused by a corporation’s own actions is less controversial and is grounded in tort laws. As made apparent by numerous CSR front-page stories, responsibility may also arise from a company’s culpable omission to monitor and influence its business partners. This Article draws attention to the importance of better understanding the inherent tensions affecting positive obligations to act. The analysis herein reviews existing CSR literature and its reliance on the concept of ‘complicity,’ and draws on various bodies of law—particularly the law of negligence and international human rights law (IHRL)—to enrich discussions with the authoritative reasoning of courts that have dealt previously with similar issues. (Less)
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published
in
George Washington International Law Review
volume
40
issue
4
pages
60 pages
language
English
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yes
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1bb3cd16-4eca-42bb-864a-1b6064e667fc
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http://rwi.lu.se/app/uploads/2012/06/2009-Defining-the-Limits-of-Corporate-Responsibilities.pdf
date added to LUP
2016-05-04 16:49:57
date last changed
2016-09-05 12:12:30
@article{1bb3cd16-4eca-42bb-864a-1b6064e667fc,
  abstract     = {There is currently a widespread societal expectation for businesses to respect and support human rights.  The apparent simplicity of this expectation contrasts sharply against the difficulty of specifying with precision the boundaries of corporate social responsibilities (CSR).  This Article argues that the basis of these difficulties is the uncertainty regarding the responsibility of a business for the actions of third parties.  In contrast, the responsibility for abuses caused by a corporation’s own actions is less controversial and is grounded in tort laws. As made apparent by numerous CSR front-page stories, responsibility may also arise from a company’s culpable omission to monitor and influence its business partners.  This Article draws attention to the importance of better understanding the inherent tensions affecting positive obligations to act.  The analysis herein reviews existing CSR literature and its reliance on the concept of ‘complicity,’ and draws on various bodies of law—particularly the law of negligence and international human rights law (IHRL)—to enrich discussions with the authoritative reasoning of courts that have dealt previously with similar issues.},
  author       = {Mares, Radu},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {1157--1217},
  series       = {George Washington International Law Review},
  title        = {Defining the Limits of Corporate Responsibilities against the Concept of Legal Positive Obligations},
  volume       = {40},
  year         = {2009},
}