Social Transformation and Normative Change Through CSR Standards? China’s Engagement with International Labour Law in Domestic Guidance for the Textile Sector
Drawing on China’s international and national Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) engagement in the field of labour rights, this article discusses prospects for implementation and integration of international law standards through relatively non-politicized market oriented contexts. Contrary to the conventional approach in the West, China has explicitly engaged with CSR through hard law as well as guidance of a mixed regulatory character. In several cases this involves direct reference to international law standards among which some are in line with China’s stance in international debates while others less so. Chinese labour law is comprehensive, but implementation lacks behind due to lack of knowledge and weak institutions. In this context, CSR is deployed as a modality to help transform legal requirements into practice in business operations. The article argues that what may look like skirting the law may in fact promote strengthened implementation that supports social transformation and integration of international norms.
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