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Defining the corporate social responsibility of business from international law

Esther M.J. Schouten (Erasmus Centre for Sustainability and Management, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Managerial Law

ISSN: 0309-0558

Publication date: 6 February 2007



The purpose of this paper is to argue that corporate social responsibilities of international business can be defined in terms of human rights responsibilities.


The approach taken is to draw from international law to examine whether these responsibilities can be defined in a precise way.


The paper finds that human rights responsibilities of business needs further refining.

Research limitations/implications

Research needs to be conducted from a law perspective on defining concepts such as “complicity”, “spheres of influence” or “respecting” human rights.

Practical implications

This paper calls upon international business and their stakeholders to use and pro‐actively manage their human rights responsibilities and further refine the existing managerial human rights tools.


In exploring the human rights responsibilities of business, this paper contributes to an important crossroads of international law and management.



Schouten, E.M.J. (2007), "Defining the corporate social responsibility of business from international law", Managerial Law, Vol. 49 No. 1/2, pp. 16-36.



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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited