Corporate Social Responsibility in the 21st Century

Corporate Social Responsibility in the 21st Century

Debates, Models and Practices Across Government, Law and Business

Bryan Horrigan

Professor Bryan Horrigan spans subjects as diverse and topical as global corporate responsibility and governance debates, practical guidelines for responsible businesses and their professional advisers, governmental roles in corporate social responsibility, corporations and human rights, and the new era of ‘enlightened shareholder value’. He also highlights an emerging transnational and comparative body of law, regulation, and practice on corporate social responsibility. Illustrated throughout with meaningful controversies and examples, the book also highlights the major recent global developments in corporate social responsibility already this century, focusing especially on Europe, the UK, North America, and Australasia, and charting its future regulatory and research directions worldwide.

Chapter 6: Sensitizing Boardroom Obligations to Corporate Social Responsibility

Bryan Horrigan

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, environment, environmental management, law - academic, corporate law and governance, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights

Extract

COMPARATIVE 21ST CENTURY TRENDS IN REGULATING BOARDROOM OBLIGATIONS Internationally, there is a growing realization that directing enterprises with integrity must be taken seriously if we are to have effective wealth-generating, and public service delivering, organizations. The future realization of a ‘civil society’ depends on it. Across the world the general public and politicians are realizing that matters cannot continue as they are for boards of directors . . . There are two significant pressures for change which will bring about a transformation. First, the demand for more ‘shareholder democracy’ needs to be accommodated if boards are to answer the public’s perception that boards tend to put their own interests before their shareholders’ . . . The second pressure for change is political intervention in corporate affairs on behalf of the general public, which is manifested increasingly through the growing debate on the ‘shareholder/stakeholder’ balance in corporate governance. –Best-selling corporate governance writer Bob Garratt, The Fish Rots From The Head (The Crisis in Our Boardrooms – Developing the Crucial Skills of the Competent Director)1 CSR is progressively making its presence felt in the legal and regulatory frameworks underpinning corporate governance, boardroom decision-making and business reporting in Europe, North America and the broader Commonwealth. In this way, the development of corporate regulatory systems bears the hallmarks of the wider CSR movement’s impact upon corporate law and regulation as a whole.2 The transnational examples of this trajectory are reaching critical mass, as illustrated in this chapter. In the ongoing 21st century roll-out of Europe’s broad CSR agenda, recent...

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