1st Edition

Corporate Social Responsibility, Human Rights and the Law

By Stéphanie Bijlmakers Copyright 2019
    220 Pages
    by Routledge

    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    Corporate Social Responsibility, Human Rights and the Law examines the responsibilities of business enterprises for human rights from a legal perspective. It analyses the legal status of the ‘corporate responsibility to respect human rights’ as articulated by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). This concept currently reflects an international consensus and is promoted by the UN.

    The book contemplates the various founding perspectives of the UNGPs, and how the integration of notions such as ‘principled pragmatism’ and ‘polycentric governance’ within its framework provides insights into the future course of law and policy, compliance, and corporate respect for human rights. The book thus takes a global focus, examining the interaction of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), human rights, and the law in a broader global governance context.

    Setting out a possible future scenario for the legalization of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights that is informed by the UNGPs' founding perspectives and reflects current realities in the human rights landscape, this book will be of great interest to scholars of business ethics, international human rights law, and CSR more broadly.

    List of abbreviations


    1 The Legalization of Business Responsibilities for Human Rights in the Evolving Field of CSR and Business and Human Rights

    2 The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Principled Pragmatism and Polycentric Governance

    3 The Evolution of the Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights: from a Soft into a Hard Obligation for Companies under National and International Law?

    4 Human Rights Due Diligence as a Legal Concept: its Characteristics and Reformatory Potential

    5 The EU’s Contribution to the Implementation of CSR and the Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights: Critical Reflections on the European Commission’s Strategy on CSR.

    6 The Role of Mandatory Disclosure in Operationalizing Human Rights Due Diligence: the Case of the EU Directive on Non-financial Disclosure and Board Diversity



    Stéphanie Bijlmakers is an Affiliated Researcher at the Institute for Private International Law, KU Leuven, Belgium.

    "Stephanie Bijlmakers makes a unique analysis of the triangular relationship between CSR, human rights and law. She critically revisits sources at various governance levels, from the UN Guiding Principles to the 2014 EU Directive on non-financial disclosure, culminating in a refreshing approach to corporate due diligence and CSR." -- Jan Wouters, Director, Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, KU Leuven, Belgium

    "By a thorough and convincing analysis of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights as a global standard of expected conduct [and] a social norm, and its crystallization process into various forms of international and national regulation, this book provides a welcome contribution to the understanding of human rights taking centre stage in a pluriform concept of corporate social responsibility as transnational law."Jan Eijsbouts (A.J.A.J.), Institute for Corporate Law, Governance and Innovation Policies, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

    "With corporations’ behaviour ever more disciplined by ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’, Stephanie Bijlmakers gives an authoritative insight into the law surrounding the discipline. While informed by the policy context of CSR, this volume [takes a] refreshingly legal [viewpoint] and therefore [will be] of great value to the scholarly and practising community alike." -- Geert Van Calster, Professor, Institute for European Law, KU Leuven, Belgium

    "Stephanie Bijlmakers' book covers an emergent field in the interface between public and private governance, between hard and soft law, and between national and international regulation of the impact of economic actors on society, in particular on human rights. It offers an innovative take on the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and its increasing regulation through public and private law. The book will be of value to academics and practitioners, including corporate lawyers." -- Karin Buhmann, Professor of Business & Human Rights, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark