1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Markets, Business and Regulation (2000 - 2009)

Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Regulation (Research and Policy Brief)



Thinking and policy on corporate regulation have been in flux during recent decades. Whereas the neoliberal discourse of the 1980s emphasized deregulation and corporate rights, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda of the 1990s stressed corporate self-regulation and voluntary initiatives involving, for example, codes of conduct, improvements in occupational health and safety, environmental management systems, social and environmental reporting, support for community projects and philanthropy. As the limits of self-regulation became apparent, and as the regulatory capacity or willingness of developing country governments, international bodies and trade unions continued to decline, alternative regulatory approaches have emerged. These have centred on coregulation, in which a combination of government, multilateral, civil society and business interests engage in public-private partnerships (PPPs) and multistakeholder initiatives (MSIs) associated with standard setting, reporting, monitoring, auditing and certification. More recently there have been increasing calls for corporate accountability and a renewed interest in international regulation of transnational corporations (TNCs). From the perspective of development and good governance, how effective are these different approaches?

UNRISD Research and Policy Briefs aim to improve the quality of development dialogue. They situate the Institute’s research within wider social development debates, synthesize its findings and draw out issues for consideration in decision-making processes. They provide this information in a concise format that should be of use to policy makers, scholars, activists, journalists and others.

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  • Publication and ordering details
  • Pub. Date: 1 Mar 2004
    Pub. Place: Geneva
    ISSN: 1811-0142
    From: UNRISD