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A Look at Corporate Code of Conduct Legislation
journal contributionposted on 2004-01-01, 00:00 authored by Adam McBeth
Over recent years, there has been a growing perception among civil society in the developed world that multinational corporations are engaged in socially and environmentally exploitative practices that they would never get away with, or even attempt, in their home countries. Whether right or wrong, that perception and its political and economic ramifications have driven a global movement for more responsible corporate behavior. As part of that global movement, three common law jurisdictions—the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom—have seen legislation introduced to enforce standards of practice for multinational corporations based in those countries in respect of their overseas activities. None of those Bills has yet passed into law, but they are worthy of analysis as attempts to transform hitherto amorphous concepts like 'corporate social responsibility' into concrete legislation. This article compares and critically analyses the three Bills, making recommendations as to how they could be improved, with particular emphasis on the need to forge stronger links between the legislative provisions and international human rights law.