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Vad är värdet av en signatur? - En kvalitativ studie av uppförandekoder som avtal i teori och praktik

Forssell, Alice LU (2017) LAGF03 20171
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
As corporations are using suppliers in different parts of the world, crimes against what may be regarded as central ethical norms can occur. As an example, there can be cases of sweated labour, child labour and pollution. As the judicial systems in some countries fail to prevent such crimes against, inter alia, human rights, responsibility is instead placed on the companies. NGO:s, media and the employees of these companies require it, and if a scandal of this kind is revealed it can lead to devastating results for the company in question. To solve this problem, companies have started using corporate codes of conduct as contracts. In that way, they try to control the suppliers’ actions. The codes can, for example, prohibit the supplier... (More)
As corporations are using suppliers in different parts of the world, crimes against what may be regarded as central ethical norms can occur. As an example, there can be cases of sweated labour, child labour and pollution. As the judicial systems in some countries fail to prevent such crimes against, inter alia, human rights, responsibility is instead placed on the companies. NGO:s, media and the employees of these companies require it, and if a scandal of this kind is revealed it can lead to devastating results for the company in question. To solve this problem, companies have started using corporate codes of conduct as contracts. In that way, they try to control the suppliers’ actions. The codes can, for example, prohibit the supplier from using forced labour or child labour.

In this essay, I have investigated the theoretical possibilities for companies to legally bind their suppliers through these codes of conducts. The essay only regards Swedish contract law – CISG, as well as any other parts of international contract law, is excluded. I have also made a case study on two big Swedish companies and thereby tried to make a judicial forecast of how a court potentially would judge their codes of conduct – as either legally binding or not. Lastly, I have made a sociological study of how companies view their own codes of conduct. I hereby want to find out if they have another point of view than I think the court would have.

My theoretical study revealed that there are several risks that can, in fact, prevent codes of conduct from being legally binding. The case study also showed that the companies in question were not completely aware of these risks. As the risks have not been considered, it is not sure if the codes of conduct are legally binding or not. My sociological study also showed a very interesting result – the companies do not have the same view on the codes as I think a court would have, which of course is not satisfactory from the companies’ view. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
När företag använder sig av leverantörer i andra delar av världen kan det inträffa brott mot vad som ofta uppfattas som grundläggande etiska normer. Exempelvis kan det förekomma dåliga arbetsvillkor, barnarbete och miljöförstöring. Eftersom rättssystemen i vissa av dessa länder inte lyckas förebygga dessa kränkningar av bland annat mänskliga rättigheter, placeras ansvaret i stället på företagen. Företagens anställda, NGO:s och media kräver att ansvar tas för frågorna, och om skandaler uppdagas kan det innebära stora skador på bolagens anseende. För att komma tillrätta med problemet har företag börjat använda externa uppförandekoder, utformade som avtal, för att på så vis styra leverantörernas handlingsmönster. Koderna kan exempelvis stadga... (More)
När företag använder sig av leverantörer i andra delar av världen kan det inträffa brott mot vad som ofta uppfattas som grundläggande etiska normer. Exempelvis kan det förekomma dåliga arbetsvillkor, barnarbete och miljöförstöring. Eftersom rättssystemen i vissa av dessa länder inte lyckas förebygga dessa kränkningar av bland annat mänskliga rättigheter, placeras ansvaret i stället på företagen. Företagens anställda, NGO:s och media kräver att ansvar tas för frågorna, och om skandaler uppdagas kan det innebära stora skador på bolagens anseende. För att komma tillrätta med problemet har företag börjat använda externa uppförandekoder, utformade som avtal, för att på så vis styra leverantörernas handlingsmönster. Koderna kan exempelvis stadga att det är förbjudet för leverantören att använda sig av tvångs– eller barnarbete.

I denna uppsats har jag utrett de teoretiska möjligheterna att enligt våra svenska regler – undantaget CISG – avtalsrättsligt binda leverantörerna till uppförandekodernas riktlinjer. Jag har också genomfört en fallstudie på två stora, svenska bolag och därigenom försökt ställa en rättslig prognos för huruvida en domstol hade bedömt bolagens uppförandekoder som bindande eller inte. Det visar sig i den teoretiska undersökningen att det finns ett flertal fallgropar som kan göra att uppförandekoder inte är avtalsrättsligt bindande för leverantörerna. Uppförandekoderna som undersökts i fallstudien bemöter inte heller dessa risker, vilket leder till den rättsliga prognosen att uppförandekoderna inte säkert kan sägas vara avtalsrättsligt bindande.

Sist men inte minst har jag ur ett rättssociologiskt perspektiv undersökt bolagens egen syn på uppförandekodernas bindande verkan. Min slutsats är att den inte helt överensstämmer med resultaten av min rättsliga prognos. En sådan diskrepans är naturligtvis inte tillfredställande ur bolagens synvinkel. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Forssell, Alice LU
supervisor
organization
course
LAGF03 20171
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
avtalsrätt, rättssociologi
language
Swedish
id
8908487
date added to LUP
2017-06-30 13:30:50
date last changed
2017-06-30 13:30:50
@misc{8908487,
  abstract     = {As corporations are using suppliers in different parts of the world, crimes against what may be regarded as central ethical norms can occur. As an example, there can be cases of sweated labour, child labour and pollution. As the judicial systems in some countries fail to prevent such crimes against, inter alia, human rights, responsibility is instead placed on the companies. NGO:s, media and the employees of these companies require it, and if a scandal of this kind is revealed it can lead to devastating results for the company in question. To solve this problem, companies have started using corporate codes of conduct as contracts. In that way, they try to control the suppliers’ actions. The codes can, for example, prohibit the supplier from using forced labour or child labour.

In this essay, I have investigated the theoretical possibilities for companies to legally bind their suppliers through these codes of conducts. The essay only regards Swedish contract law – CISG, as well as any other parts of international contract law, is excluded. I have also made a case study on two big Swedish companies and thereby tried to make a judicial forecast of how a court potentially would judge their codes of conduct – as either legally binding or not. Lastly, I have made a sociological study of how companies view their own codes of conduct. I hereby want to find out if they have another point of view than I think the court would have.

My theoretical study revealed that there are several risks that can, in fact, prevent codes of conduct from being legally binding. The case study also showed that the companies in question were not completely aware of these risks. As the risks have not been considered, it is not sure if the codes of conduct are legally binding or not. My sociological study also showed a very interesting result – the companies do not have the same view on the codes as I think a court would have, which of course is not satisfactory from the companies’ view.},
  author       = {Forssell, Alice},
  keyword      = {avtalsrätt,rättssociologi},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Vad är värdet av en signatur? - En kvalitativ studie av uppförandekoder som avtal i teori och praktik},
  year         = {2017},
}