Connecting Research and Practice at the 'Doing Business Right Winter Academy'

Published 25 January 2018

Successful Conclusion of the Doing Business Right Winter Academy
The first Doing Business Right Winter Academy on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Transnational Law and Practice took place during the week of 8-12 January. The Winter Academy examined some of the key legal and regulatory mechanisms in place to ensure multinational corporations act in the public interest and the principles and approaches that underpin these mechanisms.

It consisted of various interactive lectures and round-table discussions and offered participants a unique opportunity to learn from distinguished and influential practitioners and academic experts in the fields of CSR, business and human rights, and related aspects of transnational and international law. 

A Forum for Discussion between Researchers and Practitioners
Twenty one participants took part in the Winter Academy, providing a close-knit forum for lively and passionate exchange between speakers, workshop leaders and fellow participants – with discussion informed by diverse perspectives from a variety of fields. Participants and speakers came from around the globe and included advanced students, academic researchers and professionals (legal practitioners, industry, governmental and civil society representatives). The value of engaging such a diverse range of practitioners and researchers helped deepen the analysis of the issues covered, and provided for a rich experience for speakers and participants alike.

Key areas examined
The Winter Academy kicked off with an insightful exploration of the theoretical background to corporate responsibility, addressing a series of normative questions on the topic and situating CSR within the context of globalisation, before moving on to a discussion of binding unilateral measures with extraterritorial effect. Speakers also addressed the promotion of corporate responsibility at the international level, including under the aegis of the UN system and through bilateral and multilateral agreements containing provisions capable of regulating multinational corporations. A fascinating set of talks also explored the private regulation of business conduct by way of business self-regulation and private standards for sustainability and CSR.

While all sessions focused to varying degrees on the practical challenges of corporate social responsibility, the Winter Academy drew to a close with presentations and an interactive simulation stressing the real-world obstacles to – and the efforts that go into ensuring – the operation of corporate responsibility, sustainability and Doing Business Right transnationally.

Doing Business Right is a project within the strand Advancing Public Interests in International and European law, that focuses on investigating the role of law in securing the public interest in the context of transnational economic activities. In particular, it aims to address the function of law in ensuring that economic globalisation is reflective of its publics. Read more about the project here.