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preface
1. International Corporate Responsibility Series: Volume > 2
John Hooker, Ans Kolk, Peter Madsen Preface
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international codes of business conduct
2. International Corporate Responsibility Series: Volume > 2
James K. Rowe, Ronnie D. Lipschutz Corporate Codes of Conduct as a Global Business Strategy
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We argue that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), particularly corporate codes of conduct, has been one of global business’s preferred strategies for quelling popular discontent with corporate power. By “business strategy” we mean organized responses, through organizations like the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), to the threat that public regulation poses to business’s collective self-interest. Attention to CSR’s historical development reveals it has flourished as discourse and practice at times when corporations became subject to intense public scrutiny. In this essay we outline two periods of corporate crisis, and account for the role codes have played in quieting public concern over increasing corporate power: 1) When developing countries along with Western unions and social activists were calling for a “New International Economic Order” that would more tightly regulate the activity of Transnational Corporations (1960–1976); and 2) When mass anti-globalization demonstrations and high profile corporate scandals areincreasing the demand for regulation (1998–Present).
3. International Corporate Responsibility Series: Volume > 2
Duane Windsor Formulating a Moral Core for International Codes of Conduct
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A moral core places ethical considerations superior to business interest. This core must include voluntary prescriptions in various forms to “buy higher, sell lower.” International business ethics must somehow address the tradeoff between corporate financial and stakeholder interests. Corporation codes of conduct generally do not define a moral core. Corporate citizenship is typically strategic investment in markets and reputation. There are two practical paths for formulating a moral core. One path is civil lawsuits against multinationals that, successful or not, increase corporate moral sensitivity. The other path is evolution of multilateral codes of conductembedding negotiated norms for guidance of corporate behavior. Four key cases illustrate: (1) World Bank approach for combating corruption in Chad; (2) a lawsuit against Unocal alleging human rights abuses by Myanmar; (3) a lawsuit against ChevronTexaco alleging environmental and community damages in Ecuadorian Amazonia; and (4) demand by developing countries for relaxing intellectual property rights.
4. International Corporate Responsibility Series: Volume > 2
Ian Maitland Corporate Codes of Conduct: On the Virtue of Modesty
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What are international codes of conduct for? The broad support for such codes masks fundamental differences about their purpose. Corporations see codes of conduct as regimes for regulating their relations with their suppliers in developing countries and—not least—to counter negative publicity. For labor and human rights activists, on the other hand, codes of conduct are levers for forcing positive change in global labor and environmental standards. Here I consider two areas typically covered by codes of conduct—wages and child labor—and identify some of the dangers of using codes to force change. If low wages or child labor are the result of poverty, and can’t be fixed by enlightened corporate policies, then codes will at best leave the underlying problems untouched and at worst will aggravate them. I conclude that we should be cautious about using codes to force higher standards.
socially responsible investment, corporate governance, and reputation
5. International Corporate Responsibility Series: Volume > 2
Benjamin J. Richardson Corporate Finance and Environmentally Responsible Business
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The financial services sector has the potential to be an important driver for improved corporate social and environmental responsibility through its control over corporate financing. But, so far, only ad hoc policy initiatives have arisen in the European Union and other countries. Because the financial services sector is where wholesale decisions regarding future development, and thus pressures on the environment, arise, the reform of investment and banking services to promote long term investment and better consideration of environmental impacts may be an effective way to promote sustainable development. Reforms such as corporate environmental reporting requirements and lender liability for borrowers’ environmental harm, are some of the ways by which an institutional framework for mobilising financial organizations as instruments of environmental regulation could be constructed.
6. International Corporate Responsibility Series: Volume > 2
Jacob Park Beyond Good Intentions: New Directions for Investing in Sustainability
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This paper examines the rise of socially responsible investment (SRI) as a sustainable finance mechanism and discusses the potential of SRI in steering the banking and financial services industry toward a more socially responsible and environmentally sound model of commerce. I argue in this paper that the potential of SRI to serve as a sustainable business mechanism to steer the global financial market toward a new ethical architecture depends on two related factors: (a) continuing institutional and social pressures forgreater corporate transparency, and (b) the ability of SRI to become a viable financial instrument outside its traditional markets in emerging and developing economies.
7. International Corporate Responsibility Series: Volume > 2
Rae Weston A Analysis of Corporate Governance Issues for Large Japanese Multinationals Seen Through the Prism of Three Recent Cases
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This study examines the three major Japanese multinational corporate governance cases of the past decade: Sumitomo Copper, Daiwa Bank, and Mitsubishi Motors. The analysis focuses on three particular matters: Does senior management and the board exhibit a form of “disaster myopia”? Were there clear signs of the impending problems that were ignored? Is there anything distinctive that makes these cases Japanese in character? The first two questions are answered in the affirmative for all three firms, but only the Mitsubishi case exhibits a peculiarly Japanese characteristic.
8. International Corporate Responsibility Series: Volume > 2
Susanne van de Wateringen The Petroleum Industry and Reputation: Developments in Corporate Reputation Over the Period 1990-2002
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A good reputation is one of the most valuable assets a company can have. A problematic reputation can hinder companies in their performance. In competitive markets where products differ little in price, technology, or availability, reputation can make a difference. Petroleum companies are frequently associated with environmental issues such as oil spills and climate change. Since environmental performance rankings remain inconclusive due to methodological shortcomings, those issues may affect the sector’s reputation. This paper examines whether the observation of a problematic reputation for multinationals in the petroleum sector is sustained by empirical data for the period 1990–2002. Taking in account methodological limitations, the analysis shows two downward trends for all companies, indicating a common reputation effect. The effect of catalyst events is observed for individual companies. However, the contribution of the paper is not only empirical. Conceptually, the results show the complexity of measuring the multidimensional concept of reputation, as well as the importance of the reputation commons, catalyst events, and a reputation mechanism.
corporate responsibility and globalization
9. International Corporate Responsibility Series: Volume > 2
Albino Barrera Corporate Responsibility in Adverse Pecuniary Externalities: The Case of International Agricultural Subsidies
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The United States, Europe and Japan provide farm subsidies at a rate of one billion USD per day. The bulk of this is captured by large corporate entities. Damage to less developed countries is extensive and deep. Besides the farmers who are harmed because of the resulting lower agricultural prices, these negative effects ripple through the rest of the economy, due to the central importance of the agricultural sector for developing nations. Besides being direct beneficiaries of these subsidies, farming corporations, including their ancillary support industries, have lobbied heavily to resist the growing international clamor to remove or at least substantially alter thesesubsidies. This paper examines the economics and ethics of international corporate responsibility on the issue of farm subsidies.
10. International Corporate Responsibility Series: Volume > 2
Bryane Michael How Involved Should the World Bank Be in International Corporate Responsibility Programs?: A Qualitative Exploration of Optimal Program Provision
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The growth of popularity of International Corporate Responsibility (ICR) has brought several international organizations into the ICR “industry”—notably the World Bank. The World Bank sees its ICR activities as public goods which make up for under-provision by the market due to market externalities. Yet, ICR also benefits the Bank. The optimal level of World Bank involvement will depend on the degree to which it provides public goods and increases the quality of non-perfectly competitive markets where ICR activities may be under-provided. The optimal level of World Bank ICR project provision is discussed and policy issues are raised.