Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Essay: Transparency in International Private Law

For those interested, I have posted the following essay to the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) website.  

(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2012)

Transparency and Business in International Law—Governance Between Norm and Technique

Larry Catá Backer

This essay considers transparency and business in international law as a matter of the dynamic tension between norm and technique in the management of systems and the masses of the population they serve. It is divided into two parts. After this Introduction, Part II critically examines transparency in international and transnational regulatory and governance regimes. It considers both hard and soft law frameworks. Section II.A considers public sources of transparency regulation, concentrating on two: the OECD framework and the recently endorsed Guiding Principles of Business and Human Rights. Sections II.B through II.D examine transparency and governance beyond the state, considering (i) hybrid governance efforts represented by the ISO and Global Compact systems (Section II.B), (ii) private third party non-corporate governance regimes represented by the GRI and third-party certification programs (Section II.C), and (iii) private corporate governance transparency regimes (Section II.D). Part III then examines transparency in action. Part III.A explores environmental disclosure by BP before and after the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill of 2010. Section III.B examines Apple, Inc.’s transparency efforts in the context of managing the labor issues of its supply chains. Section III.C critically examines transparency as regulation and action within the framework developed in this Introduction, focusing particularly on the way in which the characteristics of transparency as norm, technique and property fundamentally shape both its character and the parameters within which reform is possible.

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