International Business under Adversity
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International Business under Adversity

A Role in Corporate Responsibility, Conflict Prevention and Peace

Edited by Gabriele G.S. Suder

What is the role of international business in this dilemma? How and why do international corporations maximize value beyond core strategy and partners through corporate responsibility? This informative and accessible resource expands the readers’ understanding of the ways in which profit maximization, value creation and community benefit interconnect. How to respect the wider business settings and communities, the environment and encourage peace? Is this just another dream? This book clearly provides a starting point for upstream mitigation, in which collective action allows disruption to be avoided at its very roots. It shows the way into responsible business, as a downright condition for an enlightened self-interest for all parties to pursue.
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Chapter 3: Corporate Social Responsiblity: An International Law Perspective

Alice de Jonge

Extract

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...

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