Corporate social responsibility*

Charlotte Villiers

in The Role of Labour Standards in Development

Published by British Academy

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264911
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754098 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Original Paperbacks

Corporate social responsibility*

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The potential role of corporations through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities in sustainable development is significant for workers and trade unions because sustainable development is widely considered to include recognition of the needs and relevance of labour. CSR might thus be considered to provide an open door for a more participatory role for workers and their representatives, and for achieving better and stronger labour standards. However, this chapter argues that CSR is unlikely to bring about sustainability in this way and is in fact more likely to exclude labour participation. It addresses the links that can be made between CSR and labour rights. It highlights the limitations of CSR, explains why its promises are likely to be unfulfilled, and argues that an alternative approach is required. Workers and trade unions need to collaborate with other social movements to establish a countervailing power to that enjoyed by large corporations. A stronger accountability regime is also required that will ensure real responsibility of corporations for their actions.

Keywords: corporations; sustainable development; workers; trade unions; labour participation; labour rights; accountability

Chapter.  6160 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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