Edited by Andreas Nölke and Christian May
Chapter 23: Corporations and global standards of corporate social responsibility
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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