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  Corporate Codes of Conduct
 
Arthurs, H.W., "Compared to What? The UCLA Comparative Labor Law Project and the Future of Comparative Labor Law" [GALS Working Paper Series #1-06]

Abstract:
This article describes the work of the Comparative Labor Law Group from 1965 to 1978 as a particular “moment” in the life of post-war labor law. That “moment” had its origin in the post-war compromise, and was waning by the late 1970s. It was a time in which there was widespread agreement that the purpose of labor law was to provide justice in the workplace and that workers should enjoy economic and employment security. The author shows that a crisis in political economy, legal institutions and legal theory undermined the consensus and with it, the underpinnings of traditional labor law and comparative labor law scholarship. The national labor law systems that were the focus of the consensus moment withered under the combined onslaught of technological change, the rise of the service sector, neo-liberal ideology, the restructuring of key industries, the expansion of knowledge-intensive work, the entrance of women and excluded groups into the mainstream workplace, and changes in the nature of work itself. In the wake of the demise of the national labor law systems, new sources of normative authority derived from private rule-making institutions have increased their governance role in work relationships. Such systems include corporate codes of conduct, the UN Global Compact, the institutions of trade regimes, and other “soft law” initiatives. The author calls for a new type of comparative labor law that compares these diverse, semi-autonomous systems of non-state normativity in order to develop a “new syntax, grammar, and vocabulary of comparativism which will help make them mutually intelligible.”

[Working Paper]
Subjects: Comparative Labor Law, Corporate Codes of Conduct, Trade Conditionality
Newsletter: Vol 5, Issue 10
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Arthurs, Harry, "Reinventing Labor Law For the Global Economy: The Benjamin Aaron Lecture", Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law v. 22 no2 (2001) p. 271-294

Abstract:
This article looks broadly at the relationship between national labor law and the global economy, and surveys the various forms of rule-making and dispute resolution currently used to address international labor disputes. Part One sets out a broad definition of globalization as a neo-liberal political system. Part Two asks why lawyers continue to perceive labor law as a national, rather than a global, phenomenon. Part Three examines how globalization is influencing industrial relations. Part Four looks at five types of mechanisms currently used to set international labor standards—treaties and conventions; dissemination of “best practices;” codes of conduct; international union campaigns; and social movement consumer campaigns. It concludes that these diffuse standards hold the keys to an emerging international labor law regime for the global economy.

Subjects: Corporate Codes of Conduct, Labor Rights in General (Misc.)
Newsletter: Vol 2, Issue 2
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Baker, Mark B., "Tightening the Toothless Vise: Codes of Conduct and the American Multinational Enterprise", Wisconsin International Law Journal v. 20 no1 (Winter 2001) p. 89-142

Abstract:
This article addresses the widespread impact multinational corporations have on the world, and summarizes the various ways governments, NGO’ s, and industry have attempted to minimize corporations' abusive power. Part I illustrates the global power of corporations, how that power has been augmented in recent years, and why groups worldwide have been fighting to bridle that power. Part II surveys the various attempts to regulate corporations that have been implemented and/or proposed by local, national, and international groups. The author finds that although there is surprising commonality among the various “pressure point” proposals, all current forms of regulation remain essentially toothless. Finally, Part III concludes that traditional methods of corporate control remain ineffective, and as a result, new methods of regulation must be proposed and adopted.

Subjects: Corporate Codes of Conduct
Newsletter: Vol 1, Issue 1
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Basu, Kaushik, "Compacts, Conventions, and Codes: Initiatives for Higher International Labor Standards", Cornell International Law Journal v. 34 no3 (2001) p. 487-500

Abstract:
The author argues that, on the whole, existing international labor standards initiatives are ill-conceived and likely to have undesirable results. This is true even though global opinion has become more sophisticated and nuanced in recent years and some of the more recent proposals, such as the UN Global Compact, are better tailored than earlier plans. For any international labor standards effort to succeed, the author contends, it is imperative to take account of the opinions of developing nations. At this stage, international labor standards are best left to individual nations, with only minimal global coordination assigned to the ILO and UN. Moreover, the author argues that the WTO, as it currently functions, is not the appropriate body for enforcing labor standards. In the long run, there must be an effort to democratize global organizations and institutions, such as the WTO. Only when that is done, or at least when the process is reasonably underway, can global organizations be seriously entrusted with the task of promoting higher international labor standards.

Subjects: Corporate Codes of Conduct, International Labour Organization (ILO), UN Global Compact, United Nations (UN), World Trade Organization (WTO)
Newsletter: Vol 2, Issue 1
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Blackett, Adelle, "Global Governance, Legal Pluralism and the Decentered State: A Labor Law Critique of Codes of Corporate Conduct", Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies v. 8 no2 (Spring 2001) p. 401-447

Abstract:
This Article posits that codes of conduct, as self-regulatory initiatives, represent emerging forms of labor regulation that can best be understood through the lens of two key discourses: legal pluralism and economic globalization. Part I examines export processing zones (EPZ) where codes of conduct are most heavily concentrated; followed by a brief critical overview of selected contemporary examples of codes. Part II focuses on legal pluralism as it applies to traditional labor regulation and the underlying goals of labor law. Part III contends that workers' rights advocacy surrounding self-regulatory initiatives simultaneously problematizes and reinforces dominant conceptions of the globalization process. The author suggests that the most fruitful contributions of self-regulatory initiatives might be to shine a spotlight on the complex contexts in which Multi-National Enterprises act and foster deeper cross-border interactions between non-governmental actors. Finally, Part IV examines counter-hegemonic approaches to legal pluralism and economic globalization, and how they may provide a starting point for more inclusive, layered forms of labor regulation across different governance levels.

Subjects: Corporate Codes of Conduct, Export Processing Zones
Newsletter: Vol 2, Issue 4
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Bomba, Margaret, "Exploring Legal Frameworks to Mitigate the Negative Effects of International Health Worker Migration", Boston University Law Review v. 89 no3 (June 2009) p. 1103-1135

Abstract:
This article focuses on the problem of health workers migrating en masse from the developing world to wealthy countries. In Part I, the author describes the problem and presents reasons why health workers are migrating at such an alarming rate. In Part II, the article details the debate about global health-worker migration between (1) those who wish to keep things as they are, (2) those who recognize a problem, yet advocate against control over health worker migration, and (3) those who recognize a problem and advocate for regulation of health-worker migration. Part III examines the evolving framework of immigration laws in the U.S. as they relate to doctors, in particular. The laws initially required foreign doctors to return home after training in the U.S., but now create possibilities for those doctors to remain in the U.S. Part IV then examines a number of national and international attempts at curbing Global North-to-South health-worker migration. Finally, Part V examines the efficacy of different solutions and concludes that codes of ethics for international recruitment of health workers, as well as bilateral and multilateral international agreements, are the most promising.

Subjects: Case Studies: Industry-Specific, Corporate Codes of Conduct, Immigration
Newsletter: Vol 10, Issue 1
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Dickerson, Claire Moore, "Transnational Codes of Conduct Through Dialogue: Leveling the Playing Field for Developing-Country Workers", Florida Law Review v. 53 (2001) p. 611-667

Abstract:
This article proposes that in order to establish a dialogue between multinational companies and developing-country workers, there is a need to frame appropriate behavior in terms familiar to multinationals: workers should be extended the legal norm of good faith ubiquitous in the commercial realm. Further, in order to make the extension more palatable, multinationals should be encouraged to see that they could benefit from the extension of this norm. Part II describes how the organizational form of multinationals, as virtual organizations, increases the likelihood that the multinationals will not consult their workers. Part III examines the good faith norm at the micro and macro levels, and concludes that existing incentives are insufficient to establish the required dialogue between multinationals and developing-county workers. Part IV recommends the use of a supranational structure modeled in the ILO to reinforce consultation of workers.

Subjects: Corporate Codes of Conduct
Newsletter: Vol 2, Issue 6
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Doorey, David J., "Who Made That?: Influencing Foreign Labour Practices Through Reflexive Domestic Disclosure Regulation", Osgoode Hall Law Journal v. 43 (2005) p. 353-405

Abstract:
The author discusses efforts by governments and by non-state actors such as activist shareholders and NGOs to force greater transparency of labor practices of multinational corporations (MNCs) and mandatory disclosure of global supply chain information. The author situates these proposals in a theory of the "decentred state" whereby states seek to indirectly influence the practices of MNCs supranationally by compelled information-sharing. After discussing the potential of disclosure mechanisms, the author cautions that while increased transparency alone is not sufficient to improve labor practices. In addition, actors must ensure information disclosed is useful and verifiable and that disclosure does not lead to unintended consequences, such as when MNCs "cut and run" from suppliers whose poor practices are divulged, leaving behind greater unemployment and destitution. Moreover, he admonishes that disclosure methods must be crafted to empower workers and other actors in developing states to pursue local solutions, and must not interfere with efforts by supplier nations to regulate domestically. The author analyzes three current disclosure proposals in light of the foregoing concerns. The author concludes that a Canadian NGO's proposal to require disclosure of factory names and locations is a promising approach because it would enable advocacy groups can mine the data and mediate its dissemination in ways that would mitigate the unintended consequences and yet promote indigenous efforts to improve working conditions.

Subjects: Corporate Accountability, Corporate Codes of Conduct, Labor Rights as Human Rights
Newsletter: Vol 8, Issue 3
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Freeman, Bennett & Pica, Maria B. & Camponovo, Christopher N., "A New Approach to Corporate Responsibility: the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights", Hastings International and Comparative Law Review v. 24 no3 (Spring 2001) p. 423-449

Abstract:
This article discusses the recent adoption by the United States and the United Kingdom of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. The authors compare the principles within the context of other corporate responsibility initiatives and show why these initiatives may be more effective than domestic litigation. In their view, multinationals are beginning to recognize that what is at stake is nothing less than “the social license to operate” in a favorable business environment.

Subjects: Corporate Codes of Conduct
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Harper, Paul, "New Governance and the Role of Public and Private Monitoring of Labor Conditions: Sweatshops and China Social Compliance for Textile and Apparel Industry/CSC9000T", Rutgers Law Record v. 38 no1 (2011) p. 49-73

Abstract:
In this article, the author analyzes the monitoring and enforcement of labor standards in China, as well as the actions of government and outside actors to strengthen the implementation of those standards. Part I analyzes implementation problems through the case of occupational safety and health (OSH) laws. While China has good OSH laws on paper, they are poorly applied because enforcing authorities accord economic prosperity priority over worker safety. In Part II, the author looks at external pressure being exerted upon China to improve enforcement of labor standards. A substantial share of the pressure comes from corporate trade groups and state actors, both of which are treated with suspicion by Chinese authorities who fear that monitoring efforts are fronts for foreign economic weapons. Finally, Part III looks at a new integrative linkageť labor standards model for the Chinese textile and apparel industry, posited and enforced by industry, rather than the state. Entitled CSC9000T, the model is promising because it is collaborative rather than adversarial in nature. The author warns that its effectiveness will be determined by how well it implements monitoring mechanisms independent of the Chinese state.

Subjects: Case Studies: Country-Specific, China, Corporate Accountability, Corporate Codes of Conduct
Newsletter: Vol 11, Issue 6
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Herrnstadt, Owen E., "Are International Framework Agreements a Path to Corporate Responsibility?", University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business and Employment Law v. 10 (2007) p. 187-238

Abstract:
In response to unilaterally declared corporate codes of conduct, in the last decade several global union federations have negotiated international framework agreements (IFAs) which attempt to ensure compliance with internationally recognized labor standards throughout a multinational employer's operations. Based on an examination of IFAs negotiated by the Building and Woodworkers International and the International Metalworkers Federation, this article evaluates the effectiveness of IFAs in terms of coverage, content, implementation and enforcement. In terms of coverage, the author argues that IFAs must cover the entire enterprise, including subsidiaries, suppliers and joint ventures. He finds that some IFAs have strong language regarding coverage, some include only permissive or ambiguous phrases, such as "encouraging" or "urging" recognition of labor standards, and still other lack such language altogether. In terms of content, the author finds that most IFAs contain a statement of principles that includes prohibitions on forced labor, child labor and workplace discrimination and the rights of workers to equal pay, minimum health and safety standards, freedom of association and collective bargaining. To be effective, however, the author argues that an IFA must comprehensively and expressly incorporate the specific standards embodied in International Labor Organization Conventions and their interpretive documents in order to ensure that signatory employers are held to recognized international standards. In terms of implementation, the author argues that IFAs must be written in understandable language and distributed to all employees to ensure that key terms, such as "freedom of association" are understood in conformity with international standards. And in terms of enforcement, the author advocates random and unannounced inspection by independent observers. The author concludes that none of the existing IFAs meet all of these criteria.

Subjects: Corporate Accountability, Corporate Codes of Conduct
Newsletter: Vol 7, Issue 6
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Jaffe, Rossell & Weiss, Jordan D., "The Self-Regulating Corporation: How Corporate Codes Can Save Our Children", Fordham Journal of Corporate & Financial Law v. 11 (2006) p. 893-935

Abstract:
This note argues that global economic deregulation and the growth of multi-national corporations (MNCs) are linked to the employment of child labor. The authors advocate for a practical solution to the problem of child labor through the use of corporate codes of conduct. Parts I and II summarize the history of child labor and MNCs. Part III discusses several relatively ineffective mechanisms that have been used to regulate child labor, such as NGOs and consumer activism. Parts IV and V argue for the potential success of corporate self-regulation through codes. Codes are not limited by international law because they derive their power from consumers: codes encourage MNCs to compete for publicity instead of for cheaper production sources. The authors conclude that while codes may be an imperfect solution to child labor abuses, they can be effective because they change the corporate cost-benefit analysis for the use of child labor.

Subjects: Child Labor, Corporate Codes of Conduct
Newsletter: Vol 6, Issue 7
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Jonassen, Frederick B., "A Baby-step to Global Labor Reform: Corporate Codes of Conduct and the Child", Minnesota Journal of International Law v. 17 (2008) p. 7-52

Abstract:
This article details the apparent and potential success of corporate codes of conduct to address the problem of exploitative child labor where national and international actors have largely failed. It points to various reasons, including international competition for markets, the degree of "sovereignty" over children which parents generally refuse to surrender to states or other international bodies, and the difficulty of monitoring and enforcing traditional laws and regulations as contributing to the continuation and growth of child labor throughout global supply chains. The author suggests that the emergence of corporate codes of conduct in recent decades, brought on largely in response to journalistic and other negative media attention given to prominent corporations or celebrities for tolerating or encouraging exploitative labor conditions, bypasses the traditional players in international relations and human rights and may form the basis for an emergent "lex humanitariana" out of the customary law of commercial contracts and mercantile practices.

Subjects: Child Labor, Corporate Codes of Conduct
Newsletter: Vol 7, Issue 6
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Kaeb, Caroline, "Emerging Issues of Human Rights Responsibility in the Extractive and Manufacturing Industries: Patterns and Liability Risks", Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights v. 6 no387 (Spring 2008) p. 1-85

Abstract:
This article provides case studies from several countries on patterns of human rights abuses by multi-national corporations (MNCs) in the extractive and manufacturing industries. The author argues that in the extractive industries, human rights abuses are typically committed by government security forces or government authorities of the host country, often at the request oil or mining corporations. The degree of corporate liability, either in civil litigation in the United States or through criminal prosecutions in European courts, tends to depend upon the proximity and kind of relationship between the corporations and the host government's security forces. By contrast, human rights abuses within manufacturing industries abroad mostly involve allegations of abuse within the corporate production and supply chain, and mostly pertain to the situation in the workplace, including allegations of forced labor, child labor and violations of the international labor standards pertaining to freedom of association and collective bargaining. The author concludes that MNCs in both sectors have increasingly accepted responsibility for human rights abuses and adopted various voluntary corporate codes of conduct.

Subjects: Case Studies: Industry-Specific, Child Labor, Corporate Accountability, Corporate Codes of Conduct
Newsletter: Vol 7, Issue 7
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Kenny, Katherine E., "Code or Contract: Whether Wal-Mart's Code of Conduct Creates a Contractual Obligation Between Wal-Mart and the Employees of its Foreign Suppliers", Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business v. 27 (Winter 2007) p. 453-483

Abstract:
This Comment examines a 2005 suit brought against Wal-Mart by the International Labor Rights Fund on behalf of workers in five countries. The suit alleged that Wal-Mart was “obligated to ensure supplier compliance with its Code of Conduct, and adequately monitor working conditions in supplier factories.” The author examines whether codes are binding contracts between foreign suppliers and their employees, discussing both US courts’ interpretations of codes and specifics of Wal-Mart’s code. She concludes that Wal-Mart’s code should not be seen as a binding contract but rather as a “mere guideline,” and thus Wal-Mart should not be accountable for denial of minimum and overtime wages, breach of contract for forced labor, or breach of contract for denial of the right to freely associate. Two concluding sections discuss broader implications of this case in the context of globalization. She raises a concern that multi-national corporations will face more suits from labor groups and from foreign workers “who want to force corporations to be accountable for what takes place on foreign soil.” The author suggests corporations “be proactive with their own enforcement and monitoring” in order to avoid public criticism.

Subjects: Case Studies: Company-Specific, Corporate Accountability, Corporate Codes of Conduct
Newsletter: Vol 6, Issue 8
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Kochan, Thomas A., "Updating American Labor Law: Taking Advantage of a Window of Opportunity", Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal v. 28 (2007) p. 101-122

Abstract:
This article is one of many in recent years offering suggestions for reform of U.S. labor law. Much of the article is concerned with reviewing past attempts – both successful and otherwise – at implementing such reforms, including the author's participation as a member of the Clinton-appointed Dunlop Commission of the early 1990s whose recommendations were never adopted. Based on past experiences, the author first offers five conditions for any successful effort to effectuate fundamental changes in U.S. labor law: (1) a significant event or crisis which attracts the attention of the wider public; (2) swift action by the reformers so as not to lose the opportunity; (3) an uncompromising approach; (4) a clear agenda for reform (again, so that time is not wasted studying the issue or giving opponents time to organize opposition); and, (5) a powerful and articulate champion for reform capable of transcending the complex and partisan legislative process and framing the issues as one affecting a broad segment of the public or the country's economic well-being. The author suggests that the United States might be approaching such a "crisis" moment when it will be possible to reform what he considers an "ossified" labor law system. The author advocates that collective bargaining be supplemented with works councils or some similar guaranteed form of workplace representation based on the experience of several European countries. He also advocates a new approach for the enforcement of labor standards that would permit flexible enforcement if the parties have an agreed upon code of conduct that meets or exceeds the minimum legal standards. He also suggests a corresponding reform of the courts to add a special labor division, along the lines of current bankruptcy courts, to ensure greater familiarity and competence among judges called upon to hear compliance and enforcement disputes.

Subjects: Case Studies: Country-Specific, Corporate Codes of Conduct, Labor Rights in General (Misc.)
Newsletter: Vol 6, Issue 8
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Kryvoi, Yaraslau, "Enforcing Labor Rights against Multinational Corporate Groups in Europe", Industrial Relations v. 46 no2 (2007) p. 366-386

Abstract:
This article addresses efforts by European states to hold multinational enterprises (MNEs) accountable for labor and human rights abuses and to enforce MNE adherence to labor standards in developing countries. The first section discusses efforts to implement and enforce international codes of conduct establishing norms for MNE corporate citizenship and behavior. The author examines both company-generated codes and regulatory efforts by the EU to regulate European corporations operating in developing countries. He argues that both codes of conduct and labor standards operate in a national context and are therefore not legally binding on MNEs. In the second and third sections, the author addresses extraterritorial uses of legal remedies by home states and concludes that possibilities for litigation depend whether a country adheres to a civil law tradition, with its flexible jurisdictional rules, or a common law tradition, with more rigid jurisdictional rules. He also argues that the concept of limited liability, which shields corporate parents from responsibility for the behavior of subsidiaries, hinders enforcement opportunities against MNEs. In sum, the paper advocates a combination international standards, state-based tactics, and campaigns by private actors to force nations to hold MNEs accountable in their home countries.

Subjects: Corporate Accountability, Corporate Codes of Conduct, European Union, Extraterritorial Application of Law
Newsletter: Vol 7, Issue 8
 
Lin, Li-Wen, "Legal Transplants through Private Contracting: Codes of Vendor Conduct in Global Supply Chains as an Example", American Journal of Comparative Law v. 57 (2009) p. 711

Abstract:
The author argues that codes of vendor conduct in international supply chains function as legal transplants. Legal transplants occur when laws, rules, or legal structures are transplanted from one country to another. The author identifies two ways in which transplantation occurs: through ‘hard’ approaches such as the rules that the European Union and World Trade Organization impose upon their members, and through ‘soft’ approaches such as model codes of conduct. In the globalized economy, non-state actors can also transplant laws. The author argues that vendor codes of conduct, which large corporations such as Gap and Wal-Mart use to determine supplier eligibility, are examples of transplanted laws. These transplanted quasi-legal regulations are especially effective in countries where legal systems are weak and the sanction of losing business is a greater threat than sanctions imposed by law. The author argues that codes of vendor conduct often set the template for labor laws in developing nations, and thus should be strengthened to address the labor issues in such countries.

Subjects: Case Studies: Industry-Specific, Corporate Codes of Conduct, Trade Conditionality
Newsletter: Vol 13, Issue 3
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Pagnattaro, Marisa Anne & Peirce, Ellen, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Conflict Between U.S. Corporate Codes of Conduct and European Privacy and Work Laws", Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law v. 28 no2 (2007) p. 375-428

Abstract:
This article examines the problems that U.S. corporations operating in the European Union ("EU") attempt to comply with the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act ("SOX") and European privacy and employment laws. The whistleblowing provisions of SOX are designed to provide a confidential and anonymous way for employees to come forward with concerns about accounting or auditing practices without fear of retaliation. Many corporations have attempted to comply by establishing an anonymous hotline for whistleblowers. The EU, however, requires that its members adopt strict national laws that protect the personal data of employees, including the personal data communicated through these whistleblower hotlines. The result is that many U.S. corporations that have attempted to comply with SOX by implementing whistleblower systems have violated strict European privacy and employment laws. The author describes four cases in which U.S. corporations' whistleblowing systems were found by French and German courts to have violated their national privacy or employment laws. To address the potential conflict between SOX and the EU laws, the EU has issued a set of guidelines and recommendations. The author proposes ten specific recommendations that should be followed by U.S. corporations before implementing a whistleblowing system in the EU.

Subjects: Corporate Codes of Conduct, Employee Privacy, European Union
Newsletter: Vol 7, Issue 5
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par Kamil, Admed, "International Labor Rights- A Categorical Imperative?", Les Editions Revue de Droit University de Sherbrooke v. 35 (2004) p. 185-145

Abstract:
The author discusses the capacities of the ILO, the WTO and corporate codes of conduct (CCCs) to protect labor rights. The author reviews labor rights debates in international trade law, noting the theory of comparative advantage and differences between more and less developed countries (sections II and III). While the ILO has been criticized as outdated, lacking enforcement power, and US-dominated, it retains international clout and can back labor rights by cooperating with the WTO and CCCs (section IV). Enforceable WTO law is the ultimate goal, but this is unlikely for now because, according to WTO anti-protectionism provisions, products fabricated in different manners cannot receive dissimilar treatment. Also, less developed countries lobby against WTO labor provisions. Thus, the author argues that CCCs are a viable interim strategy (Section IV, E). Corporations favor them because they create consumer markets, represent the privatization of regulation, strengthen management, and are unenforceable by outside agencies. As such, CCCs are substantively toothless, yet to their credit they are as flexible, transnational and international as corporations themselves.Thus, he concludes taht CCCs can supplement the protective capacities of the ILO and WTO such as they are.

Subjects: Corporate Codes of Conduct, International Labour Organization (ILO), Labor Rights in General (Misc.), World Trade Organization (WTO)
Newsletter: Vol 5, Issue 6
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Phillips, Joe, "Their Brothers' Keeper: Global Buyers and the Legal Duty to Protect Suppliers' Employees", Rutgers Law Review v. 61 no2 (Winter 2009) p. 333-379

Abstract:
Substandard workplace conditions in poor countries as a result of globalization have prompted a push for responsibility for corporate buyers in the first world. In turn, buyers have adopted "codes of conduct"ť for their suppliers: baseline practices governing child and forced labor, union rights, wages, safety, amongst other aspects of the third-world workplace. Yet, legal enforcement of the codes is problematic. The result has been a complex patchwork of codes, but less transformation than advocates had hoped. After describing this phenomenon, this article examines some legal claims that may arise from the disparity between buyers' codes of conduct and the brutal conditions found within their producers' workplaces. The author argues that under Good Samaritan and general contractor doctrine in tort law, codes of conduct may create legal duties for buyers which, if coupled with personal injuries resulting from producers' workplaces, could result in liability for buyers. For wage and benefit claims, third-party beneficiary and promissory estoppel doctrines provide at least theoretical liability, as well. In conclusion, while advocates may hail the possibility of legal pressure, the author warns, they should make sure not to scare buyers away from codes of conduct altogether.

Subjects: Corporate Codes of Conduct
Newsletter: Vol 11, Issue 1
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Sheikh, S., "Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility Within the European Union", International Company and Commercial Law Review v. 13 no4 (2002) p. 143-150

Abstract:
This paper discusses a recent green paper produced by the European Commission on "Corporate Social Responsibility" (CSR), which argued that, in theory, firms could enhance their competitiveness by going beyond their legal responsibilities in social and environmental matters. This paper sketches ways in which the EU could help with the implementation of CSR. It suggests that the commission's role would be spreading CSR throughout the member states by publicizing best practices, organizing networking between organizations engaged in CSR, and attempting to involve themselves in firms engaged in CSR activities. The author lists possible incentives for companies to do CSR (pressure from top management, employees, customers, competitors, and the local community) and potential benefits for companies from CSR, including good public relations and enhanced employee participation. The article proposes self-monitoring mechanisms, assesses CSR from the viewpoint of "stakeholder" interests (shareholders, customers, employees, creditors, wider public), and proposes a "structured dialog" incorporating these interests. It concludes that firms should not be "compelled" to engaged in CSR, but that voluntary participation would be more effective.

Subjects: Corporate Accountability, Corporate Codes of Conduct, European Union
Newsletter: Vol 2, Issue 6
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Silk, James J & Makonnen, Meron , "Economic Exploitation of Children: Ending Child Labor: A Role for International Human Rights Law?", St. Louis University Public Law Review v. 22 no359 (2003) p. 359-370

Abstract:
This article discusses the recent rise in the use of private actions to prevent child labor. It begins by noting that private enforcement actions are necessary because international legal standards designed to protect children have weak enforcement mechanisms. After explaining the scope and impact of child labor, the authors detail the various international human rights laws that purport to protect children from abusive labor practices. The authors then explore the shift from reliance on public international measures to private actions such as boycotts of products made with child labor and public pressures to induce corporations to adopt codes of conduct. The authors present critiques of using private actions to prompt compliance with labor rights, but conclude that international human rights law has a role to play in ending child labor because it sets the standard by which conduct is measured, regardless of whether pressure to comply is exerted by non-governmental or governmental entities.

Subjects: Child Labor, Corporate Codes of Conduct, Labor Rights in General (Misc.)
Newsletter: Vol 3, Issue 1
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Stone, Katherine V.W., "To the Yukon and Beyond: Local Laborers in a Global Labor Market", Journal of Small and Emerging Business Law v. 3 no1 (Summer 1999) p. 93-130

Abstract:
This article explores the possibilities for effective protection of labor rights in the emerging global labor market. It explores existing forms of transnational labor regulation, including both hard regulation, i.e., regulation by state-centered institutions, and soft regulation, i.e., regulation through private actors responding to market forces. The author finds that existing regulatory approaches are inadequate to ensure that the global marketplace will offer adequate labor standards to its global workforce. She proposes new approaches to global labor regulation, approaches that blend hard and soft law by reshaping market forces and embedding them in a regulatory framework that is protective of core labor rights.

Subjects: Corporate Codes of Conduct, European Union, International Labour Organization (ILO), Labor Rights in General (Misc.), NAFTA/GATT, Trade Conditionality, World Trade Organization (WTO)
Newsletter: Vol 1, Issue 2
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Williams, Cynthia A., "Text of Remarks on Panel: 'Codes of Conduct and Transparency'", Hastings International and Comparative Law Review v. 24 no3 (Spring 2001) p. 415-422

Abstract:
This article proposes using Section 14 of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act as a model for requiring multinational corporations to disclose the social, political, and environmental effect of international corporate action. The author argues that the Securities and Exchange Commissions statutory authority is sufficient to require publicly held companies to disclose how those companies are dealing with workers rights, environmental protection, and human rights issues at home and abroad. The author also points to empirical evidence that disclosure requirements benefit consumers and investors as well as the corporations.

Subjects: Corporate Codes of Conduct
Newsletter: Vol 2, Issue 7
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Zumbansen, Peter, "The Parallel Worlds of Corporate Governance and Labor Law", Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies v. 13 (Winter 2006) p. 261-301

Abstract:
The author applies the lens of transnational law (TL)-a body of norms and a methodological approach to the study of legal regulatory systems throughout the world-to the area of corporate governance. Zumbansen argues that TL captures the "hybridized" mix of "hard" and "soft" regulations that characterizes corporate governance rule-making in the area of labor regulation in the twenty-first century global economy. Part I argues that the separate worlds of corporate and labor law are in fact parallel, in that both are affected by the same "denationalization of societal activity" that has led to a decline in state-based law and a rise in the number of foreign and transnational "norms-producers," both public and private. Zumbansen criticizes self-regulation mechanisms, such as codes of conduct, through the TL rubric, finding them lacking accountability. Part II describes the emergence of TL and discusses whether constitutionalizing TL can afford greater protection for core labor standards. The author claims that TL is positioned to address the magnitude of regulatory challenges inherent in a globalized labor market. He also contends that moving the analysis beyond the realm of the nation-state can help scholars assess the layers of regulations that govern both "regulated and self-regulating" firms.

Subjects: Conflict of Laws, Corporate Accountability, Corporate Codes of Conduct, Labor Rights in General (Misc.)
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