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International Documents on Corporate Responsibility

Edited by Stephen Tully

International Documents on Corporate Responsibility includes the principal international, regional and national instruments drafted by intergovernmental organisations or states as well as codes of conduct formulated by industry associations, trade unions and non-governmental organisations. The coverage includes the fields of human rights, international criminal and environmental law, labour standards, international trade, armed conflict, sustainable development, corruption, consumer protection and corporate governance. Each document is accompanied by a brief explanatory commentary outlining the historical origins of the instrument, the principal actors involved, controversial negotiation issues, applicable implementation procedure, and identifies further reference material.
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Chapter 2: UN: Draft Code of Conduct on Transnational Corporations, 1990


Commentary: One feature of the assertion by newly independent developing States for a New International Economic Order in 1974 (UNGA Resolution 3201) was exercising greater regulatory control over foreign direct investment. A Group of Eminent Persons was appointed to study the impact of corporations upon development and international relations: UN Doc E/5500/Rev.1 (1974). ECOSOC Resolutions 1908 (1974) and 1913 (1974) established a Commission on TNCs with the Centre on TNCs acting as secretariat. Their ‘highest priority’ of work was a code of conduct: for previous drafts see UNCTC, TNCs: ‘Codes of Conduct, Formulations by the Chairman’, UN Doc E/C.10 2/8 (1978) & UNCTC, ‘Draft Code of Conduct on TNCs’, UN Docs E/1983/17/Rev1 and E/1988/39/Add1. Political disagreements between governments were reduced to several key issues by the mid-1980s: ECOSOC, ‘TNCs: Issues Involved in the Formulation of a Code of Conduct’, UN Doc E/C.10/17 (1976); UNCTC, ‘Secretariat Report on the Outstanding Issues in the Draft Code of Conduct on TNCs’, UN Doc E/C.10/1984/S/5 (1984); ECOSOC, ‘Work on the Formulation of the UN Code of Conduct on TNCs’, UN Doc E/C.10/1985/S/2; UNCTC, ‘The UN Code of Conduct on TNCs’, UN Doc ST/CTC/Ser.A/4 (1986). This included the standard of compensation for expropriated property under international law: Robinson P. (1986), ‘The Question of a Reference to International Law in the UN Code of Conduct on TNCs’, UN Doc ST/CTC/Ser.A/1 (1986); Vagts D.F. (1986), ‘The Question of a Reference to International Obligations on the UN Code of Conduct on TNCs: A Different View’, UN Doc ST/CTC/Ser.A/2 (1986)...

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