Meta-Regulation Legal Accountability for Corporate Social Responsibility

This article exposes and examines the character of these meta-regulatory innovations in law enforcement and whether they can meet their aspirations to hold companies accountable. I will argue that instead of imposing rules and judgments on companies through hierarchical legislation and an adversarial judicial system, meta-regulatory law seeks to work proactively in a world rich in indigenous regulatory options (including corporate governance) and to teach companies to become self-accountable (ethical self-regulation within the law). Dawson, S. (2004) “Balancing Self-interest and Altruism: Corporate Governance Alone Is Not Enough,” Corporate Governance: An International Review, 12, 130. More recently, enforcement measures (by consumers, workers and NGOs, as well as governments) have been used to promote and enforce corporate economic, social and environmental responsibility. The law obliges companies (directly or indirectly) to implement governance measures such as compliance systems, whistleblower protection, CSR reporting initiatives, stakeholder complaint and consultation processes, etc. in order to strengthen their corporate awareness (to incorporate values that go beyond narrow self-interest, in practice and company structure: Selznick, 101). This is called “metaregulation” – the regulation of self-regulation of liability (Parker, The Open Corporation, 2002). The law traditionally deals with accountability – “keeping people at threshold criteria of good conduct and performance.” Responsibility goes beyond accountability to the extent to which people “care about their duties, ideals and obligations, values and rules” (see Selznick, The Communitarian Persuasion, 2002, 29). Traditional legal regulation of companies is primarily focused on liability.

The chapter argues that legal responsibility for corporate social responsibility (CSR) should aim to ensure that companies undergo a CSR process aimed at achieving CSR results. It defines what the meta-regulatory law must do and be to hold companies accountable for their responsibilities. The chapter briefly explains how this notion of meta-regulatory law refers to the multitude of legal, non-legal and quasi-legal governance mechanisms at work in a globalized and post-regulatory world. It also contains the criticism that laws that seek to meta-regulate corporate responsibility focus on internal governance processes in a way that allows companies to avoid conflict between self-interest and social values and thus avoid liability. Meta-regulatory law is a response to the recognition that the law itself is regulated by non-statutory regulation, and should therefore seek to adapt to plural forms of regulation. Corporate governance (CG) refers to the decision-making rules of companies and orders the internal mechanism of companies to monitor the outcome of the rules. It encompasses customs, policies, laws and institutions as a set of processes that influence how a business is managed, managed or controlled. After a few corporate scandals and with the emergence of civil society campaigns against the negative impact of corporate activity on the environment, the company`s management began to focus on issues beyond this traditional approach to address business ethics, accountability, disclosure and disclosure. “As companies seek to reassure regulators and investors that they are fully transparent and accountable, they are increasingly committed to honest and fair corporate governance principles for a wide range of business practices” (Gill, 2008, p. 453). DOI Link for Meta-Regulation: Legal Accountability for Corporate Social Responsibility Meta-regulation seeks to look inward – it explicitly promotes responsible (and democratic) moral reflection on corporate values and commitments, rather than imposing its own rules and norms on companies, provided they are accepted as legitimate. But if the meta-regulatory law transforms from within, it is likely to erode into unfounded regulatory processes.

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