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Corporations, Responsibility and the Environment

Bradshaw, CJ; (2013) Corporations, Responsibility and the Environment. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER)—that corporations can and should play an active role in the governance of environmental protection—is justified primarily by reference to the business case; the claim that behaving responsibly pays. In privileging a market voice for the environment, however, the business case alone is an inadequate justification for CER. As such, this thesis considers a qualitatively different justification: that there exists normative and pragmatic space for CER within contemporary approaches to environmental law and regulation. The thesis suggests that CER is best understood and justified by reference to the positive and normative implications of decentred regulation, where regulation is no longer the preserve of government and, in view of the limitations of governmental control, nor should it be. A waste-based case study illustrates the potential and limits of CER in this regard. However, this normative space for CER in decentred environmental regulation is not mirrored within corporate law and governance. Notwithstanding references to the ‘environment’ in the Companies Act 2006, the theoretical orthodoxy and its influence over the positive mainstays of UK corporate governance regard environmental concerns as largely irrelevant to company law and decision-making. In order to remedy this problematic position of corporate environmental irrelevance, as well as to more generally enhance CERs limited normative appeal, the thesis examines the nature and location of a voice for the environment within corporations. It argues that intra-corporate environmental voice should be enhanced through company law, providing environmental management systems (EMSs) as one possible example of ways in which company law might provide room for corporate environmental conscience to breathe.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Corporations, Responsibility and the Environment
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Environmental law, Company law, Corporate governance, Regulation, Corporate social responsibility
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1414312
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