For decades now, leading businesses have developed and implemented voluntary Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in efforts to address the social impacts of their operations, particularly in the areas of workers’ rights, environmental impact, indigenous issues, and community relations. Even where these initiatives are prompted by business considerations or consumer pressure, such CSR initiatives necessarily take place within a legal context, and often raise complex legal issues.
Now businesses are facing new legal exposures, with voluntary international principles and “soft law” standards in the area of CSR multiplying, and legally binding requirements crystallizing. Lawyers are increasingly being called upon to provide sophisticated and timely advice relating to CSR. As social, environmental, and other issues traditionally within the realm of governments increasingly become part of corporate governance and stakeholder management, how should in-house lawyers and their external counsel help their clients manage the risks associated with CSR compliance in this changing landscape?
In this session, we will discuss:
- Recent development and emerging trends in CSR
- The role of in-house and external counsel in stakeholder management
- Managing CSR risks in cross-border transactions