Standards for the social and environmental performance of corporations have been a topic at every major international conference on environment and development for several decades. A wide variety of voluntary instruments championed under the label of `corporate social responsibility' or corporate social responsibility (CSR) have more recently been challenged by communities calling for greater accountability under the label of `corporate accountability' or CA. This paper examines the dynamics of the CSR/CA debate surrounding the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (the `Rio + 20 Conference'), in particular the failure of an unusual multi-stakeholder consensus on binding `report or explain' standards to gain traction, which raises the question: how close are we to international legally binding norms for corporate accountability in the area of sustainability goals, and what shape could such norms take? It concludes with considerations for a potential legally binding instrument on corporate accountability. Keywords: corporate accountability; CSR; corporate social responsibility; sustainability reporting; sustainability; performance standards; report or explain. Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Stec, S., Paszkiewicz, M. and Antypas, A. (2017) `Is the time ripe for global binding norms for corporate accountability?', Int. J. Innovation and Sustainable Development, Vol. 11, Nos.
International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development – Inderscience Publishers
Published: Jan 1, 2017