Organizer - International Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (INCSR)
Recent trade and economic developments around the world, including deregulation, privatization, and trade liberalization all components of transnational globalization have led to the emergence of powerful non-state actors that sometimes have greater resources than sovereign states. In 1979, Archic Carrol acknowledged the multidimensional nature of Corporate Social Responsibility when he stated that the social responsibility of business “encompasses the economic, legal, ethical and discretionary expectations at any given point in time”. Though there are decades of studies regarding CSR’s intersection with law and society, the quest for best practices and appropriate methodology remains an on-going challenge. African countries in particular are struggling to locate the right balance between the different approaches to CSR regulation which also is a major task for State and non-State actors.
Given CSR’s obvious relationship to law, business, ethics and sustainable development, there is need to explore enforceable options rather than promoting its soft law, voluntary core. While the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (“Ruggie Principles”) reinstated the State’s duty to protect human rights, its recognition of the responsibility of corporate actors to respect the rights of their stakeholders is also an important accomplishment. How to practicalize these norms in the face of new global challenges such as economic inequalities and environmental concerns is therefore a major social objective.
The Third African International Conference on Business and Human Rights will aim to critically assess the existing CSR regulatory and self-regulatory attempts in different African countries across various industry sectors. It will focus on the lessons learned and the risks and opportunities of different corporate and other regulatory mechanisms. Presentations will also dwell on the implications of these mechanisms for international governance and how they can promote the availability of domestic civil remedies. Priority would be accorded presentations that address the relationship between CSR and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In this regard issues of inequality, environmental sustainability and poverty reduction would be of priority.
It will be a leading platform for business leaders, academics and Government officials to discuss the intrinsic link between Effective legislation / public policy and Corporate behaviour; a place to identify solutions that integrate CSR principles into corporate governance and core business, a networking opportunity to build relationships with key partners, a means to gain reputational benefits from being involved. It is also an opportunity to assess the progress made in Africa since the last conference and to look forward to new possibilities for a more sustainable future in the continent.
Again this year, the conference will place strong emphasis on national laws, regulatory powers, company policies and business strategies that are presently available in African countries.
The two-day workshop will recognize innovative approaches being implemented by leading organizations and feature thought leaders; and research on a diverse range of issues facing governments and businesses in Africa. As usual, we will bring together representatives from various parts of the globe to share their experiences, challenges and ideas on the matter.
The Conference will be organized in four themes, comprising of plenary sessions and panel discussions for each of these critically important issues relating to the intersection between CSR, Law and Ethics. Plenary speakers include some of the leading thinkers in these areas, and the conference will feature numerous papers, and workshop presentations. We are inviting abstracts for paper presentations and workshops addressing but not limited to the following broad conference themes