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CSR, human rights abuse and sustainability report accountability

Engobo Emeseh (Department of Law and Criminology, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, UK)
Ondotimi Songi (Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK)

International Journal of Law and Management

ISSN: 1754-243X

Article publication date: 4 March 2014




CSR within a purely voluntary context has so far not made meaningful contributions to the problem of corporate environmental and human rights abuses in Africa. The paper therefore aims to improve the effectiveness of CSR in the continent by making companies accountable for the veracity of statements they have voluntarily put out in the public domain.


The paper adopts the stakeholder and legitimacy theories and information regulation as its framework of analysis. Following a discourse on the developments in and limitations of sustainability, the paper constructs an argument in line with these theories how these reports can still be utilised to make meaningful contribution towards strengthening CSR through accountability for false and misleading statements.


Corporations have a stake in information in sustainability reports with regard to their corporate image and reputation. Therefore, under the appropriate framework, utilising corporate accountability for false and misleading statements by companies has promise for making CSR more effective.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitations of this research is the political will of national governments in Africa to undertake such an exercise and the relative ability of civil society groups in light of the power of corporations to effectively hold them to account through the models proposed.


The paper is interdisciplinary, drawing upon both management and legal theories. A significant contribution of this research is its pragmatic approach which goes beyond calling for legal platform for CSR by recommending a model for accountability within the existing voluntary CSR framework.



Emeseh, E. and Songi, O. (2014), "CSR, human rights abuse and sustainability report accountability", International Journal of Law and Management, Vol. 56 No. 2, pp. 136-151.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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