A Role in Corporate Responsibility, Conflict Prevention and Peace
Edited by Gabriele G.S. Suder
Chapter 3: Corporate Social Responsiblity: An International Law Perspective
3. Corporate social responsibility: an international law perspective Alice de Jonge 3.1 INTRODUCTION Multinational corporations (MNCs), are exerting increasing global inﬂuence and power. The largest 500 corporations in the world now control 25 per cent of the global economic output (Spisto, 2005, 131). MNCs can and do take their place at global events such as the 1999 WTO forum in Seattle, and exert an important inﬂuence when important decisions on trade, investment, law and social policy are made (Burton, 2002). Company managers now have more power than most sovereign governments to determine where people will live, what they will do to earn a living, what they will eat, drink and wear, the information they have access to and the formation of the society their children will inherit (Fraser, 2001). Rules imposing duties, responsibilities and standards of behaviour on MNCs have not kept up with the expanding reach of their actions. Shareholders, the putative “owners” of the corporation, are shielded from responsibility for the company’s actions by the concept of limited liability. The notion of separate legal personhood (in the absence of exceptional circumstances) allows directors also to shield themselves from responsibility for corporate activities (Salomon v A Salmon & Co Ltd, 1897). It also allows parent companies to escape responsibility for the activities of subsidiary corporations. The creation of a “shell” corporation with minimal assets has now become a familiar tool to protect directors, oﬃcers, shareholders and parent-company assets from liabilities associated with business activities. Attempts to introduce...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.