Corporate Social Responsibility of Multinational Enterprises and the International Business Law Curriculum
The author argues for expanded coverage of corporate social responsibility in the U.S. law school curriculum. Corporate social responsibility is of increasing importance for businesses, particularly for those companies that conduct multinational operations. Current national legal and regulatory regimes fail to adequately address the social and environmental issues that arise in business operations. As a result, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and businesses have begun to promulgate voluntary codes ofconduct. These codes touch on such subjects as core labor standards, environmental protection, bribery offoreign government officials in international business and human rights. Examples include the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the Global Compact. Businesses have also implemented corporate social responsibility programs as part of their best practices. In addition, there are emerging areas of legal liability involving CSR principles, such as those created under the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the U.S. Alien Tort Claims Act. Although such developments are significant for business, they are not adequately covered in U.S. law school courses on corporate law and international business transactions. As a consequence, U.S. law schools are not adequately preparing their graduates to counsel clients on emerging CSR norms and are neglecting their responsibility to educate students on one of the fundamental values of the legal profession, namely promoting justice, fairness and morality. The author suggests a framework for a corporate social responsibility course or seminar that might be included as part of the U.S. law school curriculum.
Wagner, Constance Z., Corporate Social Responsibility of Multinational Enterprises and the International Business Law Curriculum. Chapter in INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC LAW: THE STATE AND FUTURE OF THE DISCIPLINE, Picker et al., ed., Hart Publishing Ltd. (2008).