The international community has debated the need for international regulation and oversight of multinational companies for almost forty years. While states have hitherto resisted the creation of an international legally binding instrument on the matter, voluntary and soft law international instruments and initiatives of intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder origin have proliferated to support and encourage an environmentally sound conduct of multinational and other companies. This chapter seeks to trace the evolution of such international practice with a view to highlighting a progressive shift from purely voluntary approaches (corporate social responsibility or CSR) towards accountability mechanisms. To this end, the chapter will first briefly discuss the increasing convergence in the definition of international environmental standards for corporate accountability within a variety of international organisations and processes (12.1). It will then focus on the most recent discussion on human rights and corporate accountability, with a view to determining whether environmental protection concerns are adequately taken into account (12.2). Attention will then concentrate on the growing number of international oversight and dispute avoidance mechanisms that provide a readily available and impartial avenue for addressing individuals’, communities’ and civil society groups’ complaints against private companies and the possibility for international entities to operate on the ground for fact-finding and/or mediation purposes (12.3).
|Title of host publication||Harnessing Foreign Investment to Promote Environmental Protection|
|Subtitle of host publication||Incentives and Safeguards|
|Editors||Pierre-Marie Dupuy, Jorge E. Viñuales|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|