Handbook of the International Political Economy of the Corporation
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of the Corporation

Edited by Andreas Nölke and Christian May

Over the past few decades, corporations have been neglected in studies of international political economy (IPE). Seeking to demystify them, what they are, how they behave and their goals and constraints, this Handbook introduces the corporation as a unit of analysis for students of IPE. Providing critical discussion of their global and domestic power, and highlighting the ways in which corporations interact with each other and with their socio-political environment, this Handbook presents a thorough and up-to-date overview of the main debates around the role of corporations in the global political economy.
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Chapter 23: Corporations and global standards of corporate social responsibility

Daniel Kinderman


This chapter provides an overview of empirical developments and scholarly debates concerning global corporate social responsibility (CSR) standards. Although global CSR standards are by no means the totality of CSR, they are arguably its most prominent, visible and well-recognized manifestations. These standards include the United Nations (UN) Global Compact, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Global Reporting Initiative and the Carbon Disclosure Project. Three lessons emerge from this chapter. First, global CSR has grown rapidly and does not appear to have been affected by the global financial crisis. Second, its frameworks are dynamic and constantly evolving. Third, it is a contested and conflictual arena. This chapter provides an overview of: the historical backdrop to global CSR as well as the latter’s dynamic rise; John Ruggie’s role in advancing this agenda; normative and critical political economy explanations for global CSR’s ascendancy; and debates over the effectiveness of global CSR standards, as well as the relationship between global CSR and regulation. The chapter concludes with some reflections on the challenge that resurgent nationalism and authoritarian populism poses for global CSR.

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