T44c International regulations applicable to multinational companies - China‑Europa Forum

T44c International regulations applicable to multinational companies

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Documents

- More : This workshop share its documents with an extended CSR working group

- Preparatory documents for the workshops - meeting in Paris in July 2009 (Pdf, 68.9 Kio)

- China-Europa Forum catalogue

Workshop presentation

European proposal

Multinational companies should be submitted to efficient rules that guarantee the prevention and the compensation of their negative impacts in terms of human rights and respect of the environment.

Such rules should not be considered by China and Europe as obstacles to economic activities but on the contrary as a way to integrate the notion of public interest in the daily management of multinational companies.

The main characteristics of multinational companies, that is to say the principles of legal autonomy of entities that compose a group of societies on one hand and limited responsibility on the other hand, should not be obstacles to a fair compensation of the damages caused by their activities.

The victims should be able to raise their voice and to be heard wherever they are and whatever their human and material resources are. It is about exploring the conditions of access to justice in the litigations that involve several jurisdictions.

It is a matter of questioning the definition of the company at a given moment of history when the influence of multinational companies is major and can become a factor of strategic progress in terms of global governance.

The implementation of harmonised rules enforceable to multinational companies represents one of the most complex challenges. Europe and China, with their legal culture and their way to apprehend globalization can opportunely explore the existence of common denominators, which is favourable to the emergence of a shared vision of the role of the company on the XXI Century.

Topics for debates

From Europe

  • To evaluate the level of priority of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reached in China and Europe. CSR is an expression generally recognized to consider the negative externalities of companies’ activities in terms of human rights and environment.
  • To highlight the main legal obstacles in China and Europe to give a sense of responsibility to multinational companies for their social and environmental impacts (legal, economic, politic and cultural?)
  • To think about the definition of a company: the notion of society contract, of group of companies, the notion of shareholder, limited responsibility, etc…
  • To identify the criteria that permit to define the notion of sphere of influence or sphere of responsibility of a company and the correlate liability that lies with in terms of prevention and compensation of its social and environmental impacts.
  • To notice the major obstacles to the emergence of harmonized rules enforceable to multinational companies.
  • The legal environment of the CSR, expression generally recognised, is complex. In order to reach relevant proposals, a multidisciplinary approach should be adopted. The contract law, investment law, corporate law, competition law, tax law, accounting law, criminal law, civil liability law, labour law, etc are so many legal tools that will be apprehended together, in a view of sustainable development.

Expected results

  • To locate the major convergence and divergence points between China and Europe regarding the implementation of adapted rules in terms of CSR.
  • To identify, by analysing practical cases, the general criteria that define an abusive corporate behaviour. Such an analysis would permit to establish the red lines of behaviour that could nourish some regulation propositions and some assistance tools to the decision process for the companies.
  • To create a network of partners likely to put in common their know-how in order to put in place some China-Europe awareness cycles on CSR aimed at academics, civil society organisations, trade unions, etc… and besides, to proceed to the drafting and diffusion of proposals to regional or international authorities.
  • To identify files linking China and Europe able to constitute some cases that illustrate the issues of the workshop and able to permit the implementation of shared legal tools or companies/civil society/authorities partnerships in order to put an end to a litigation situation.

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