Corporate Social Responsibility Policy Brief
Business & Governance

Policy Brief: Corporate Social Responsibility and the Responsibility to Protect

Author(s): One Earth Future
Date: August 27, 2014
Publication Type: Policy Briefs
Research Topics: Business & Governance


An OEF Research report authored by Ken Scott and Laura Rhodes reviewed international and national legal systems, laws, and practices regarding applicable norms and corporate responsibilities related to human rights abuses, and more specifically, mass atrocities. This policy brief is a summary of their research and OEF Research’s recommendations concerning the responsibilities of corporate actors in terms of human rights abuses, violations of international humanitarian law, and mass atrocity crimes.

Key Findings:

Policy recommendations for national, corporate, and civil society organizations:


  • In the absence of a clearer, more effective international legal framework for holding corporations accountable for human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, national governments can implement laws to directly shape their behavior.
  • National laws can be informed by international norms that identify shared responsibilities or limitations on appropriate action.


  • Companies can support existing international treaties and customary law and also participate in the development of international law by incorporating international norms into their own codes of conduct and behavior.

Civil Society Organizations

  • CSOs can increase the efficacy of international norms and national laws by publicizing violations and submitting information to authorities for the investigation, prosecution, or other policing of corporate offenders and their officers, directors, or agents.

International Governmental Organizations

  • By serving as forums where consensus on human rights issues emerges, IGOs can generate international norms related to correct corporate behavior and possible liability, which can in turn provide the foundation for both judicial and non-judicial regulation of corporate behavior.

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