Corporate Social Responsibility and Foreign Contractors: Corporate Accountability for Worker Safety Abroad
KeywordsCorporate Social Responsibility
Worker Safety Abroad
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AbstractAmong the many ways in which globalization has radically altered the way people live is through how people work. As technology has enabled companies to globalize, manufacturing jobs seeking low-wage labor have been migrating to developing countries. Along with lower wages, workers in developing countries also face substandard working conditions, including forced labor and dangerous work environments. Since the 1980s, public opinion, particularly in western countries, has pushed companies producing goods abroad to ensure that their workers are not mistreated. This impetus provided by customers, shareholders, and the community at large has developed into a new concept—Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”). CSR encourages companies to implement corporate policies not only to protect workers’ rights, but also to prevent environmental damage and to contribute to the improvement of society in general. In response, some companies have adopted policies to integrate CSR into their corporate practices. In addition, governments and international organizations have recognized the importance of CSR not only in official statements and reports, but also in the implementation of legislation to enforce some measure of CSR. However, legal repercussions are limited against companies that have their goods produced by foreign contractors, which often have poor working conditions. This Paper aims to review the current methods used by various countries to hold such companies responsible and to consider possible legal alternatives for the United States.