Governance, international law and corporate social responsibility

Governance, International Law, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Such was the theme of a seminar organised on 3-4 July 2006 by the International Institute for Labour Studies (IILS) of the International Labour Organization (ILO), together with the participation of universities and legal experts. From presentations given and the exchanges which followed, it was apparent that between CSR and the law relations are of both a multiple and complex nature and ought to be analysed with care.

Among the questions that were addressed, of particular note were those relating to the definition of CSR from a judicial perspective; the relationship between "hard" and "soft" laws; and actors' appropriation of international norms, including the link between ethics and sustainable development in the social domain. Potentially important issues for the future were also explored, such as what role could and should international organizations, such as the ILO and its secretariat, play, and whether it is necessary to formulate and adopt new international judicial norms with regard to CSR.

Following on from recently-published reports, reflections are posed concerning the global social consequences of corporate activity and the impact of a private appropriation of normative capacity on the international judicial system.