Due Diligence in international law and corporate social responsibility (CSR)
Following the adoption of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (2011), companies are expected to ‘respect human rights’ by employing ‘due diligence’. Although widely endorsed by stakeholders the Principles erred in conceptualising corporate responsibilities without appeal to jurisprudence which resulted in ambiguities and blind spots. A due diligence-based regime of CSR is emerging but there is no inclination to draw on 140 years of experience in international law with ‘due diligence’ obligations of states. We need to connect CSR with jurisprudence and ask what is the potential of due diligence as a regulatory tool in CSR, and what are the roles of states in promoting due diligence?
This three-year project surveys and analyses two main bodies of primary sources – international law and CSR – to identify the uses of due diligence in order to build a theory of a due diligence-based regime of CSR. The study seeks clarity on three essential aspects – the nature, specification and enforcement of due diligence. The aim is to develop a theory of responsible human rights risk management located at the intersection of regulatory, governance and managerial theories. We use comparative and inductive methods to achieve a synthesis of two perspectives in CSR: the polycentric governance and the jurisprudential perspectives.
The significance of our project lies in the building of a theory which will facilitate the assessment and structuring of the emerging CSR regime.
The project is conducted together with the Law Faculty in Lund.
Project period: 2014-2017