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The Role of Labour Standards in DevelopmentFrom theory to sustainable practice?$
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Tonia Novitz and David Mangan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264911

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264911.001.0001

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Corporate social responsibility*

Corporate social responsibility*

Its potential and its limits for labour participation

(p.170) (p.171) 10 Corporate social responsibility*
The Role of Labour Standards in Development

Charlotte Villiers

British Academy

The potential role of corporations through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities in sustainable development is significant for workers and trade unions because sustainable development is widely considered to include recognition of the needs and relevance of labour. CSR might thus be considered to provide an open door for a more participatory role for workers and their representatives, and for achieving better and stronger labour standards. However, this chapter argues that CSR is unlikely to bring about sustainability in this way and is in fact more likely to exclude labour participation. It addresses the links that can be made between CSR and labour rights. It highlights the limitations of CSR, explains why its promises are likely to be unfulfilled, and argues that an alternative approach is required. Workers and trade unions need to collaborate with other social movements to establish a countervailing power to that enjoyed by large corporations. A stronger accountability regime is also required that will ensure real responsibility of corporations for their actions.

Keywords:   corporations, sustainable development, workers, trade unions, labour participation, labour rights, accountability

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