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Hastings Business Law Journal

Abstract

Corporate responsibility, or CSR, which has become a heated topic over recent decades, concerns a broader range of interests than shareholders by focusing on companies’ voluntary approaches to engage with social/environmental issues. In contrast, corporate accountability is more about a confrontational or enforceable framework of influencing corporate behavior through clear means for sanctioning failure. On the ground that voluntary CSR is inadequate to deliver the necessary change and to secure more socially responsible activities, this Article proffers a framework for corporate accountability based on existing institutional systems. Different from the neoclassical version of corporate accountability, this Article argues stakeholders, other than shareholders, should also be able to sanction corporate results. The Article thereby examines the potential for the mobilization of the existing legal mechanisms through reward and punishment, along with the market discipline, to assist primary stakeholder groups in enforcing social standards. By shifting the focus from seeking the introduction of rights and duties for companies to their practical implementation, this Article wishes to serve as a starting point for the corporate accountability debate for scholars interested in corporate responsibility topics in the future.

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