Corporate Social Responsibility, Private Law and Global Supply Chains

Corporate Social Responsibility, Private Law and Global Supply Chains

Corporations, Globalisation and the Law series

Andreas Rühmkorf

This insightful book demonstrates that private law makes a significant contribution to the promotion of corporate social responsibility (CSR), but that with certain changes this contribution could be better. Based on the analysis of four substantive areas (company law/corporate governance, contract law, consumer law and tort law), the book covers a full range of issues that are important for CSR. These include directors’ duties, corporate reporting, the incorporation of CSR policies into the supply chain, consumer rights and the tortious liabilities of companies.

Chapter 6: The promotion of corporate social responsibility in English private law

Andreas Rühmkorf

Subjects: law - academic, corporate law and governance, human rights, regulation and governance

Abstract

This chapter builds on the analysis of four areas of substantive English private law in the preceding chapters of the book (i.e. company law and corporate governance; contract law; consumer law; tort law). The chapter brings the threads of the analysis in the chapters together. It is argued that the four areas of private law that were analysed in this book have demonstrated that private law plays an important role for CSR in various ways, for example, through director’s duties and the strategic report in company law, the incorporation of CSR standards into supply chain contracts, the liability in tort for violations of CSR principles and through the private remedy of consumers in relation to misleading business practices. This chapter argues that while there are limitations to the promotion of CSR in English private law, private law has made and can continue to make an important contribution to the promotion of CSR and that it could make an even better contribution if these limitations were addressed. Based on the discussion of the limitations and opportunities provided by private law, the chapter provides a list of substantive recommendations for changes to English law that result from the analysis. Within the discussion of the limitations and the strengths of private law in the promotion of CSR, this chapter also addresses the question to what extent English private law could contribute to the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights into English law.

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