George to speak in Paris on corporate social responsibility

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Professor Erika George will be the keynote speaker at a Nov.22 event at the HEC House of Alumni in Paris on “Enforcing Corporate Social Responsibility by Reporting and Rankings.”

George’s talk will examine the emergence and evolution of selected ranking and reporting frameworks in the expanding realm of business and human rights advocacy. 

Specifically, it examines how indicators in the form of rankings and reports evaluating the conduct of transnational corporate actors can serve as regulatory tools with potential to bridge a global governance gap that has places human rights at risk.  It explains the conditions that have led to coordination and collaboration among those entities engaged in creating reporting frameworks and rankings while nevertheless relying upon the competitive impulses of the business enterprises being ranked to assert influence.  It also identifies why the businesses being ranked have been slow to deploy effective counter-strategies despite efforts to contest emerging reporting requirements.

It considers the interaction of selected business and human rights indicators with recent laws regulating supply chain transparency in the United States and with recent global policy initiatives calling for business enterprises to conduct human rights impact assessments.  It reviews some of the methodological and moral risks raised with respect in ranking rights. In conclusion, it is argued that in the ecology of global governance these new business and human rights indicators will provide rights advocates with greater power and have the potential to play an important role in solidifying emerging soft law standards and strengthening corporate self-regulation.