Title: Is the time ripe for global binding norms for corporate accountability?

Authors: Stephen Stec; Magdalena Paszkiewicz; Alexios Antypas

Addresses: Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University, Nador u. 9 1051 Budapest, Hungary ' Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University, Nador u. 9 1051 Budapest, Hungary ' Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University, Nador u. 9 1051 Budapest, Hungary

Abstract: Standards for the social and environmental performance of corporations have been a topic at every major international conference on environment and development for several decades. A wide variety of voluntary instruments championed under the label of 'corporate social responsibility' or corporate social responsibility (CSR) have more recently been challenged by communities calling for greater accountability under the label of 'corporate accountability' or CA. This paper examines the dynamics of the CSR/CA debate surrounding the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (the 'Rio + 20 Conference'), in particular the failure of an unusual multi-stakeholder consensus on binding 'report or explain' standards to gain traction, which raises the question: how close are we to international legally binding norms for corporate accountability in the area of sustainability goals, and what shape could such norms take? It concludes with considerations for a potential legally binding instrument on corporate accountability.

Keywords: corporate accountability; CSR; corporate social responsibility; sustainability reporting; sustainable development; performance standards; report or explain; global binding norms.

DOI: 10.1504/IJISD.2017.083321

International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, 2017 Vol.11 No.2/3, pp.130 - 148

Available online: 15 Mar 2017 *

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