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Promoting corporate extraterritorial sustainable responsibility through the lens of social licence to operate

Zhao, J., Lu, X. and Lin, W. (2022) Promoting corporate extraterritorial sustainable responsibility through the lens of social licence to operate. Sustainability, 14 (13). 8019. ISSN 2071-1050

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/su14138019


Mandatory corporate extraterritorial responsibilities to promote environmental, social and hu-man rights awareness and recordkeeping have been criticised as green-washing, despite the pro-gressive intent of such attempts. This article conducts an in-depth investigation of extraterritorial responsibility through the lens of the social licence to operate (SLO), using a hybrid methodology involving doctrinal, conceptual, black letter, interdisciplinary and socio-legal sources. We aim to give an overview of decided cases referred to the Supreme Court by the Court of Appeal, in the hope of offering academic groundwork for legalising corporate extraterritorial responsibility in the context of global value chains with the participation of multinational enterprises and various stakeholders, including those in very vulnerable positions in developing or the least developed countries. Previous research on the notion of the SLO has tended to focus on one particular indus-try, based on the assumption that an SLO is more relevant in corporate social responsibility (CSR) sensitive sectors. This article will change the focus and aim to answer the question of whether building and maintaining SLOs can help companies to acquire the social legitimacy to fulfill ex-traterritorial social responsibility. We link the goals, ideals and breadth of SLOs to those of ex-traterritorial responsibility in order to provide supplementary support for legislators to achieve better compliance and risk management. We conclude that the benefits of seeking an SLO are that they can help to inform progressive extraterritorial legislative attempts, promote board account-ability, and mitigate environmental and social risks.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Law
ID Code:108180


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