OR2013232 Art. Social responsibility and international law: reflections about labour issues

Type d'édition : Papier
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While many analysts greet the success of corporate social responsibility around the world, others are concerned that it might be a substitute for binding regulations, which are then prevented from emerging. According to such critical perspective, globalization and neo-liberalism are part of the same movement in which the normative power of states is being transferred to private actors, with the twofold consequence of consecrating the principle of self-regulation while elevating companies to the status of real legislators. This critical perspective interprets social responsibility initiatives and mechanisms as a movement to privatize law, inherent in the neo-liberal ideology that drives the globalization movement. While seductive, this perspective is the antithesis of what is argued here, that is, that the social responsibility movement reflects a transformation of juridicization which is beyond its control and which is part of a broader democratic evolution, itself the result of both social dynamics and globalization. This article explores the forms taken by social responsibility in the field of labour in order to bring out the limitations of the critical perspective and reflect on the relationships between law and democracy in our economic and globalized societies. Building on ISO 26000 adoption process, it shows that social responsibility initiatives do not abolish existing legislation and are not adopted “in place of” binding instruments. On the contrary, by juxtaposing themselves with international laws, those initiatives or mechanisms participate in their effectiveness. Keywords: Social responsibility, ISO 26000, Globalisation, Self-regulation, International law, Labor law, Privatisation of law.

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