1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Markets, Business and Regulation (2000 - 2009)

Corporate Social Responsibility and Development: Towards a New Agenda?

Date: 17 - 18 Nov 2003

UNRISD organized a two-day conference entitled “Corporate Social Responsibility and Development: Towards a New Agenda?”, which was held on the 17th and 18th November 2003 in the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become an important developmental and governance issue in recent years. Voluntary initiatives, involving codes of conduct, reporting, certification, corporate social investment, environmental management systems and multiple forms of “partnership”, are evolving rapidly, partly in response to criticism of existing policy and practice. In view of the concerns that have arisen regarding the implications of CSR for development and governance, and the recent proposals calling for corporate accountability and international regulation of transnational corporations, it is important for the United Nations and other actors to engage with the academic and NGO research community that has been analysing these issues.

The conference was divided into three thematic sessions:
1. CSR and Development: Research Perspectives
2. New Relations with TNCs: Multistakeholder Initiatives and UN-Business Partnerships
3. Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility? Alternative Approaches and Proposals

The discussions were organized around six panels, each comprising 3 to 5 invited speakers.

To view the detailed conference agenda, click Agenda, on the right.

Main objectives
1. To present research findings from UNRISD and other international research on CSR and development to UN agencies and other actors.
2. To engage UN agencies and other actors in critical reflection and debate on the developmental challenges confronting the current CSR agenda and public-private partnerships.
3. To consider new approaches and proposals related to corporate regulation and accountability.
4. To examine the role of the UN in global governance arrangements involving corporate regulation and CSR.

Conference Documents
1. Research papers were made available at the conference.
2. An issue of UNRISD Conference News summarizing the discussions and highlighting their policy implications will be published in English, French and Spanish following the conference.

To download the conference flyer, click Flyer, on the right.

A document containing summaries of all conference presentations is also available online. To read this document, click Presentations, on the right.