Responsible business, corporate social responsibility and environmental social governance—a guide for companies
Produced in partnership with Ardea International
Responsible business, corporate social responsibility and environmental social governance—a guide for companies

The following Environment practice note produced in partnership with Ardea International provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Responsible business, corporate social responsibility and environmental social governance—a guide for companies
  • Key terms
  • What is responsible business?
  • What is corporate responsibility and corporate social responsibility?
  • What is environmental social governance?
  • What is ‘sustainability’?
  • ISO standard for social responsibility
  • What are environmental, social and governance factors?
  • Why must in-house lawyers consider these issues?
  • Key drivers pushing CEOs to take action on sustainability issues
  • More...

Key terms

The terms ‘responsible business, ‘corporate responsibility’ (CR) or ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR), and ‘environmental social governance’ (ESG) are used by business and lawyers in various different contexts. However, for the most part they are all used to convey a business behaving in a responsible manner as part of its day to day activities. Many companies are realising that its compliance with national, state and local laws and regulations may no longer provide sufficient protection from legal, regulatory or reputational risk. In this note we will refer to ‘CSR’ as the umbrella term.

What is responsible business?

The OECD refers to ‘responsible business’ as ‘incorporating responsibility into business conduct’. The OECD states it entails conduct consistent with applicable laws and internationally recognised standards. Responsible business conduct is based on the idea that business can do good while doing no harm. It is a broad concept that focuses on two aspects of the business society relationship, namely:

  1. the positive contribution businesses can make to sustainable development and

  2. avoiding negative impacts and addressing them when they do occur

They recognise that risk based due diligence and value creation are at the heart of the process.

The OECD has published guidance on responsible business conduct. The OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct is created to provide practical support to enterprises on the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for

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