Rethinking corporate social responsibility in Australia: time for binding regulation?

Thirarungrueang, Kunnawee (2015) Rethinking corporate social responsibility in Australia: time for binding regulation? PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and regulation have become prominent in discussions of controlling corporate behaviour in this era of globalisation, stemming from the growth of power and influence of multinational corporations. The scenario of voluntary CSR emerged as an alternative to mandatory legislation to encourage corporations to embrace their responsibilities on social, environmental and human rights issues. This thesis explores the concept of CSR and the theories behind it. It is followed by a perspective of the legal status of corporations which will highlight the difficulty in bringing them to account or expecting them to voluntarily commit to the CSR phenomenon. To provide the reader with a clear insight into the discussion over whether CSR should be mandatory or voluntary, this thesis evaluates the arguments regarding the necessity of CSR and the criticisms of its voluntary aspect.

Due to the limitations of the voluntary approach, there has been a movement to encompass CSR into regulation in order to ensure corporate compliance with social, environmental and human rights issues. This thesis examines this movement within Australia, where there are three main areas of discussion: directors' fiduciary duty, extraterritorial regulation and corporate disclosure. Although amendment proposals have not been approved, the discussions over regulatory reform will continue. Therefore, it is important to understand these underlying issues for the future development of appropriate mechanisms.

Utilising examples of corporate irresponsibility by Australian companies, this thesis suggests there may be a case to implement and strengthen regulations within Australia regarding social responsibility of corporations, which would promote and protect international standards both at home and abroad. While the attempt to implement this aspect has not yet been successful, it is hoped, in the future, 'political will' changes and public pressure will encourage reforms to the present regulatory system.

Item ID: 41273
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Australia; corporate disclosure; corporate social responsibility; corporate strategy; directors' duties; disclosure; environmental aspects; extraterritorial corporate disclosure; extraterritorial regulation; fiduciary duty; mandatory; social responsibility; voluntary
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Publications arising from this thesis are available from the Related URLs field. The publications are:

Thirarungrueang, Kunnawee (2013) Rethinking CSR in Australia: time for binding regulation. International Journal of Law and Management, 55 (3). pp. 173-200.

Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2015 04:53
FoR Codes: 18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180109 Corporations and Associations Law @ 50%
18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180119 Law and Society @ 50%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940405 Law Reform @ 100%
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