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Larry Catá Backer, Corporate Social Responsibility in Weak Governance Zones, Santa Clara Journal of International Law4(1):297-332 (2016).

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Abstract: This article considers the evolution of governance standards for determining the extent  of  an  enterprise’s  responsibilities  to   protect  human  rights  in  weak  governance  zones.  The article briefly describes the development of the standard and then evaluates the standard as it has been developed and framed within the U.N. Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights and in the Organization for Economic Cooperation   and   Development’s   Guidelines   for Multinational   Enterprises   (OECD  Guidelines).  Particular attention will be paid to the Risk Awareness Tool for Multinational Enterprises which was developed to complement the OECD Guidelines following  the  call  made  by  2005  G8  Summit  for  the  development  of  OECD  guidance.   The article suggests the ways that CSR has been transformed, in some respects, to a mandate for assuming governance responsibilities in those states unable or unwilling to institute systems of law that conform to international consensus standards on human rights.  It also  explores  the  challenges  of  the  approaches  of  both  efforts.  Both acknowledge the autonomy of enterprises as directly responsible for the operationalization of international norms wherever they operate. Yet both also open the door to extraterritorial application of law.  The same framework that advances the governance autonomy of enterprises also envisions them as the vehicles through which home states may project national power within host states with weak governance regimes. Or it  may  be  understood  as  an  important  vehicle  for  internationalizing  the  law  of  states characterized by weak governance.  In this respect the weak governance zone principles parallels, on the private side, the efforts at legal internationalization general to many bilateral investment treaties.  And this tension built into both frameworks, a tension that goes to the dual character of enterprises as both autonomous governance  actors  and  as  creatures  of  the  states  in  which  they  are  domiciled,  that  mark the potential and the challenge to the internationalization of regimes of CSR.

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