Brief analysis of the international legal framework of corporate social responsibility

AuthorCharlotte Ene
PositionDepartment of Law, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Romania,
Brief analysis of the international legal framework of corporate
social responsibility
Associate professor Charlotte ENE1
This paper focuses on the main interna tional legal documents providing guidance
recommendations a nd principles on cor porate socia l responsibility (CSR), considered it a s
a sustaina bility tool. A special attention is paid to the provisions of European Union
regar ding cor porate disclosure of non-financial information and tr ansparency. The non-
financial information report has to include consultation rights, health and safety
environment, social dialogu e, fulfilment of the obligatio n of non-discrimination etc. Despite
the fact that it is not necessary a comprehensive repor t on CSR matters, the outcome would
consist in demonstra tion that the disclosure of information on policies, outcomes and r isks
will enable compa nies and their stakeholders to develop a very good stra tegy of cor porate
governance policy.
Keywords: interna tional law, corporate socia l responsibility (CSR), transpar ency, non-
financial disclosur es, sustainability.
JEL Classification: K13, K23
1. Definition and scope of corporate social responsibility
During the time, the notion of corporate social responsibility (CSR) received
various meanings. In 1953, Howard Bower, the author of this concept, defined CSR
as: the obligations of businessmen to pursue those policies, to make those decisions,
or to follow those lines of action which ar e desirable in terms of the objectives and
values of our society.2
In a broader sense, CSR refers to the impact of the business organizations
on a whole society. The same approach is found in the vision of the Romanian
Government, which considers CSR as a concept referring to the responsibilities
business organizations towards society and environment.3
In the same way, CSR is described by European Union legislator as “a
concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their
business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary
1 Charlotte Ene Department of Law, Bucharest University of Economic Stud ies, Romania,
2 Bowen H., Social Responsibilities of the Businessman, reprinted by University of Iowa Press, Iowa
City, 2013, p. 6
3 The Government of Romania, Strategia Naional a României de Promovare a Resp onsabilitii
Sociale 2011-2016, p. 9.
4 The European Union’s (EU) Green Paper P romoting a Europea n framework for Corpora te Social
Responsibility, 2001.

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