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From Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Social Liability

A Socio-Legal Study of Corporate Liability in Global Value Chains

By: Anna Aseeva
Media of From Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Social Liability
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Published: 17-06-2021
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 304
ISBN: 9781509930579
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £70.00
Online price : £63.00
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About From Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Social Liability

This book provides a critical socio-legal study that brings together the latest scholarly advances on corporate social responsibility, and, at the same time, addresses the pressing issue of corporate liability for harmful acts across the supply and production chains.

Corporations have seldom been held responsible and virtually never liable for the acts of their subsidiaries and subcontractors. Actors as different as workers, investors, individual consumers, and shareholder activists claim that corporations should accept greater responsibility for communities and environments affected by their activities.

The book argues that a global value chain's head corporations remain immune to any liability because of the 'economically dependent-legally independent' relationships between core corporations and their periphery suppliers and subcontractors. To tackle this problem, globally, the author acknowledges that 'we' as a society need to reduce the economic dependence as described above – which is far too excessive – by ensuring a level playing field both economically and socially. More concretely, she argues that in order to realise transnational corporate liability, 'we' as lawyers need to find a way (or ways) to establish legally effective relationships between head corporations and their economically dependent entities.

Readers of this book will be able to export the concept of corporate social liability, developed in the context of value chains, and apply it to other contexts involving corporate activities where they need to tackle unrestrained corporate freedom and make global businesses responsible and socially useful.

Table Of Contents

Part I: On the Limits of Law and a Limitless Globalised Market
1. Introduction
1.1. Meet Corporate Social Liability
1.2. Why Corporate Social Liability?
1.3. What Belongs to Corporate Social Liability?
1.4. The Book's Approach and Methods
1.5. Structure of the Book

2. Setting the Stage: Corporate Responsibility in Context
2.1. The Corporate Responsibility Debate in its Historical Context
2.2. Ideational Context: the Impact of the Washington Consensus
2.3 Economic Context: Centre, Semi-Periphery and Periphery of Global Value Chains
2.4. Organisational Context: Global Value Chain Governance
2.5. Social Context: CSR Standards for and within Global Value Chains
2.6. The Advent of International Standards
2.7. Many Shades of Voluntary Standards and Corporate Self-Regulation
2.8. The Rise and Fall of CSR

Concluding Remarks on Part I

Part II: The Upshots of Corporate Responsibility and Obstacles to Corporate Liability
3. National Law: the Shades of Publicness of Private Regulation
3.1. Corporate Law
3.2. Tort Law and Contract Law
3.3. Commercial Law

4. Post-national Law: Mandatory Disclosure, Environmental and Human Rights Due Diligence, and Supply Chain Liability
4.1. Supranational Law
4.2. International Law

Concluding Remarks on Part II

Part III: Corporate Liability in Theory and Practice: Recent Approaches and an Introduction to Corporate Social Liability
5. Corporate Liability in International Comparison
5.1. Legislative Landscape
5.2. Litigation Landscape

6. Analysis of Avenues for Corporate Social Liability in Global Value Chains
6.1. Common Criteria for Founding Liability: an Overview
6.2. Further Criteria for Founding Liability: Various Relevant Practices
6.3. Conceptual Prospects for Corporate Social Liability in Global Value Chains

Concluding Remarks on Part III

Part IV. Pitfalls and Future of Corporate Social Liability in Global Value Chains
7. Liability through Judicialisation, Legalisation, and Alternative Dispute Settlement
7.1. General Direct Liability
7.2. A(n) (Im)Possibility of Judicial Assertiveness: a General Duty of Care for Global Value Chains
7.3. Legalisation through Legislation: Liability Disciplines in Current French and Dutch Law
7.4. Transnational CSL Legalisation: Bangladesh Accord and Bangladesh Alliance
7.5. Alternative Dispute Resolution through International Investment Arbitration
7.6 Enforcing Corporate Social Liability ex ante

8. The Reality and Prospects of European and International Law of Corporate Liability in GVCs
8.1. European Law
8.2. International Business and Human Rights Framework: Guiding or Binding the Global Business?

9. On the Gap-filling CSL (and Its Gaps)
9.1. The Pitfalls of International Arbitration for Realising Transnational CSL
9.2. The Limits and Opportunities of the Interface of Domestic Private Law with Public International Law
9.3. Whither Corporate Social Liability?

Conclusion: Where Do We Stand and Is There a Way Forward?
1. Where Do We stand?
2. The Way Forward
3. Final Concluding Remarks


“This is an important book. Anna Aseeva's study of corporate social liability brings together comparative legal scholarship with a socio-legal assessment of the ways in which corporate responsibility for societal issues is regulated across global value chains. She demonstrates that we, as lawyers, can influence corporations' behaviour if we look beyond legal liability and acknowledge the ex ante effects of norms.” –  Vanessa Mak, Chair in Civil Law, Leiden University, the Netherlands

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