Closing global governance gaps through corporate social responsibility? : conditions for the effectiveness of the OECD guidelines, the ILO declaration, and the UN global compact in ensuring responsible business conduct

Drauth, Carlo Manuel


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Dokumentart: Bericht / Forschungsbericht / Abhandlung
Institut: Hertie School of Governance
Schriftenreihe: Working papers // Hertie School of Governance
Bandnummer: 54
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 2010
Publikationsdatum: 22.01.2013
Originalveröffentlichung: (2010)
SWD-Schlagwörter: Multinationales Unternehmen , Global Governance , Corporate Social Responsibility , Hochschulschrift , Leitsätze für multinationalen Unternehmen
DDC-Sachgruppe: Politik
BK - Basisklassifikation: 89.31 (Staatslehre), 89.41 (Staat und einzelne Gruppierungen), 89.72 (Internationale Organisationen)
Sondersammelgebiete: 3.6 Politik und Friedensforschung

Kurzfassung auf Englisch:

Political integration lags behind economic integration in some policy fields – creating global governance gaps. These unregulated areas provide multinational enterprises with opportunities to externalise (social) costs which has in some cases led to corporate scandals such as environmental harm or human rights violations in the supply chain. With no global government in place to authoritatively enforce responsible behaviour among multinational enterprises, new forms of non-hierarchical regulation have developed that – broadly speaking – commit companies to assume responsibility towards society and the environment on a more or less voluntary basis. This debate has been subsumed under the label of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). This study seeks to find out whether the three dominant international CSR instruments – i.e. the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy and the UN Global Compact – can be effective in inducing responsible business conduct among companies. Put simply, the OECD Guidelines seeks to trigger behaviour change through "naming and shaming" by "watchdogs", the ILO Declaration through "norm-setting" and the UN Global Compact through "mutual learning". The study´s approach is to explore under which conditions the varying non-hierarchical governance logics of the three paramount international CSR instruments prove to be effective in ensuring responsible business conduct. An empirical analysis informed by this approach and applied to the German context reveals two findings. The first finding is that although non-hierarchical instruments can in principle be effective in inducing responsible business conduct, they place very high demands on all policy actors involved. With this qualification in mind, the UN Global Compact comes closest to satisfying the conditions for translating its governance logic into practice, while the OECD Guidelines and the ILO Declaration fail to satisfy necessary conditions for successfully functioning in the German context. The second finding is that the OECD Guidelines, the ILO Declaration and the UN Global Compact do not stand in competition with each other, but are rather complementary. The UN Global Compact is primarily addressed to multinational enterprises. Its added value is to raise awareness of CSR in the business community and build capacity within firms to deal with social and environmental responsibilities. The OECD Guidelines is primarily addressed to governments and civil society organisations. Their added value is to monitor multinational business and correct potential irresponsible behaviour. The ILO Declaration has a broader audience. Its added value is to have an indirect effect by providing the content for the UN Global Compact, OECD Guidelines and other CSR instrument when it comes to labour and social affairs. Against this background, this study provides, first, one general policy recommendation and, second, instrument-specific policy recommendations. As for the general advice, it is recommended to establish a joined working group composed of the sponsors of the three instruments to better coordinate and exploit synergies between the instruments. As for the instrument-specific advice, it is recommended that the German Government should implement the OECD Guidelines in ways that enable NGOs and trade union to fulfil their watchdog function; the ILO should engage in promotional activities to raise the awareness of the Declaration with a view to reaching a critical mass of businesses so that its recommendations develop into a norm-setting regime in the German business community; and the UN Global Compact should focus on its logic of being a dialogue and learning platform for multinational companies and not mix this logic with contradictory elements such as sanctions.

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